CHAPEL HILL- It's a stone cold look into America's dark past. The "Cash Crop!" exhibit opened this week in Chapel Hill. The installation features 15 life-like slaves sculptures shackled and chained.

"I want the statues to stare people in the the urgency to think about how is this still happening today," says artist Stephen Hayes.

Hayes created the masterpieces back in 2010 to obtain his master's degree. He wanted to portray how slaves were viewed as goods. He believes some people around the world are still "shackled" producing goods today.

"I mean we look at sweat shops in third world countries," he says.

Town leaders wanted to use his art to highlight 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived at the U.S.

"...That this exhibit brings communities together that can have a conversation around our complicated history here in the U.S.," says Kathryn Wagner with Arts Everywhere at UNC-CH.

For more information on the exhibit and when you can check it out click here.