What You See is Not Who I Am

  • The seven panels were unveiled at Groundswell's studio before being prepared to travel to college campuses across the country.
  • Groundswell youth came together to educate themselves on the issue of human trafficking, both at home and abroad.
  • Seen here, the final designs for the seven panels.
  • During the fabrication process, youth gained hands-on artmaking skills.
  • At the unveiling, the talented youth artists proudly stood up for human rights around the country and around the globe.
  • A detail from the completed panel series.
ArtWorks for Freedom: The Groundswell Murals

Project Description

Through this project, Groundswell partnered with ArtWorks for Freedom (AWFF), an innovative non-profit founded by award-winning photographer Kay Chernush, to create “What You See Is Not Who I Am,” a panel series designed by teen artists, to be used as part of AWFF’s Global Cities Awareness Campaigns.
Human trafficking and infringement upon basic human rights is a growing industry – one that must be both addressed and stopped. Working under the guidance of Lead Artist Nicole Schulman and Assistant Artist Edwin Vazquez, Groundswell youth participating in our Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship program faced this issue head on through the creation of a multi-panel installation. During the process of research, design, and fabrication, Groundswell youth learned about the growing epidemic of human trafficking and discovered that New York is no exception in the industry. Youth artists collaboratively created twelve panels; each panel represents a different human right and a different way human trafficking hurts people around the world.
The youth hope that the mural series can spark a new awareness of human trafficking, and that the series will inspire others to take the steps needed to free these many people from their bounds.

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Project Info

Fun Facts

Question about the Mural
Which rights can you see being addressed in these panels? What images are being used to represent them?
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21st century – a $32 billion dollar industry.
An estimated 21-27 million people are enslaved around the world today – that’s more than the population of 18 states – or more than the population of New York and Virginia combined.