It’s a place for New Yorkers to gather and share their hidden sins, secrets, and suffering. Submissions are printed on-site at an installation at 401 W 14th Street in the Meatpacking District.
1) No names or personally identifying information (yours or anyone else's)
2) No profanity or hateful language or terms
3) Speak your truth
Note: By submitting your story, you are giving the artist and her partners permission to store, print, display, and read aloud your submission. See full terms.
Please be aware that this site is not regularly monitored and is not to be used to report an emergency or make a complaint. Call 911 if you are experiencing or think you have an emergency. Contact (212) 416-0197 if you wish to make a complaint to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
This is a space for vulnerability and healing.
The only thing harder than suffering is suffering alone in silence. We each carry inside of us burdens, wounds, and heartaches that we might never reveal publicly. And yet in those rare moments when we do share our vulnerability, we find not just common ground but deep connection. Moved by this watershed moment in which Asian and Pacific Islander, particularly South Asian youth in New York City, are increasingly sharing their stories of sexual assault and gender-based violence, multidisciplinary artist, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, created this piece to enable the healing power of honest disclosure.
During the creation of “May We Know Our Own Strength,” the artist will occupy physical space in a storefront at 401 W 14th Street in the Meatpacking District. New Yorkers are invited to anonymously share a personal story through a public website. A row of sixteen internet-connected receipt printers wired to incandescent bulbs sit on a platform at the installation site. Each personal submission is immediately printed on location, illuminating a corresponding bulb to let visitors know their voices are being heard. Through the always-on webcam, viewers can observe an organic pool of shame, anger, doubt, grief and hope emerge from cascading ribbons of paper.
At regular intervals, the artist will seat herself at the base of the growing heap and begin a brief ritual involving an affirmation of human dignity and courage in the face of adversity. She will weave these stories into a collection of intricate hanging paper sculptures, growing abstract shapes and natural textures onto a massive arched trellis made of wood.
Reminiscent of confession or healing spaces, this piece creates a new kind of ritual for a community to share sins, secrets and suffering. Participants can safely experience the relief that comes with having an audience bear witness to their private pain. By manifesting someone’s digital thoughts into a large-scale sculpture, we communicate the significance of their story while reminding them that they are not alone. When we encounter an archway, we have the opportunity to lay down old burdens and pass through with a sense of renewal and rejuvenation. A new beginning. Through this work, participants and the community at large can experience a cathartic release and witness their anguish transformed like alchemy into a work of art.
Eight people, six of them Asian women, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue, Paul Andre Michels and Delaina Ashley Yaun were murdered by a white gunman in Atlanta, GA during the creation of “May We Know Our Own Strength.” As a memorial to their lives, Phingbodhipakkiya will hold a nightly vigil during the installation’s run. Every evening at 8:00 PM, the names of all eight victims will print out before an eight minute moment of silence begins, with all 16 incandescent light bulbs shining resolutely into the darkness.
This work was created in partnership with the NYC Commission on Human Rights and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.