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I Am, I Will, I'm Afraid (Wellsville)

Traci Molloy
Year Grant Awarded 2015

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State > NY Zip Code > 11225
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Traci Molloy is an artist and social activist who facilitates collaborations with adolescents that have experienced trauma, exploring themes related to class, poverty, gender, race, sexuality, and violence. She is interested in how humans process grief, and society’s ability to nullify collective loss and re-contextualize history.
For the past few years, she’s been working in collaboration with youth from around the country on the I Am, I Will, I'm Afraid series, documenting them and soliciting their written responses to the aforementioned prompts. To create the piece, she photographs all the adolescents individually in a location (determined by the youth) that specifically references the community’s landscape. The participants determine the body language for the pose. After the photos are taken, she creates composite portrait of the youth, merging photos together until one final hybrid figure is created. The finished portrait depicts every youth and simultaneously no one individual. The process ensures that the youth’s identities are protected while still providing a realistic representation.
A layer of text goes atop the constructed portrait. The text, responses to the prompts I am, I will, and I’m afraid, is generated by the adolescents. The handwriting, though highly personal and individualized, becomes a representation for the collective feelings of the youth. It also provides nuance regarding the participants’ perceived identities.
The finished portrait is a powerful visual statement of psychological and emotional communication for regional youth. The pieces are displayed on a large scale publicly in the youth's communities as vinyl banners. The public installations of this series have helped make visible the invisible, provided voice to the disenfranchised, and allowed respective communities deeper insight into their young citizens’ hopes and fears.
A 10’x15’ vinyl banner of I Am, I Will, I’m Afraid (Wellsville) was displayed in downtown Wellsville in 2