“What You See Is Not Who I Am” Human Trafficking Exhibit at Union Station

From May 3 to 31, 2021, Union Station is hosting a human trafficking exhibit entitled “What You See Is Not Who I Am”. The display, which is installed on the east side of the Main Hall, is a striking series of three murals created in partnership with Groundswell’s Teen Empowerment Mural Apprenticeship (TEMA) program. TEMA is an after-school program for young people to learn how to paint murals and use art for social change.

Under the leadership of ArtWorks for Freedom Founder and Director Kay Chernush, 20 young artists learned about the global epidemic of human trafficking and how their own city of New York is not immune. Guided by Groundswell artists Nicole Schulman and Edwin Vazquez, the teenagers worked together to research, design, and create a 12-panel portable installation. The teen artists hope the mural series they created will spark new awareness of human trafficking and inspire others to get involved in helping the many invisible people in modern day bondage. The murals were made possible with support from the Embrey Family Foundation.

Maybelline Amaya, a TEMA program artist, said “Creating this mural with Groundswell was one of the enlightening moments of my life. I learned so much about the world we live in and how we, as artists, can change lives and perspectives by simply just painting. This mural is power; it’s a voice for those victims whose voices will never be heard, it’s eyes for those who could never witness or live through painful times, and it’s ears for those who haven’t heard what human trafficking is and how it affects all of us, victims or not. “What You See Is Not Who I Am” is for the world to see and I loved every minute of helping create a masterpiece.” To learn about the production process and hear some of Ms. Amaya’s thoughts, as well as those of other artists, please watch this YouTube video.

People stopping by to see this important educational exhibit must wear masks and social distance.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Rouse, USRC Program Assistant