The inaugural work in the Wilbur Gallery introduces artist Chanel Miller, who represents healing as a three-part process: reflecting on the past, being mindful in the present, and envisioning the future.
“This piece serves as an homage to process, rather than outcome. Healing happens when we are able to incorporate the full spectrum of our experiences and integrate our collective selves.” — Chanel Miller
The inaugural work in the Wilbur Gallery introduces artist Chanel Miller, author of “Know My Name: A Memoir,” who represents healing as a process with three distinct yet interchangeable parts: reflecting on the past, being mindful in the present, and envisioning the future. In this tripartite wall mural, playful line-drawn figures illustrate the phrases “I was,” “I am,” and “I will be,” encouraging us to think of life as an endless state of becoming. Visible from Hyde Street outside the museum — day and night — I was, I am, I will be is one of several public artworks commissioned by the museum to engage the surrounding community.
Miller is a Palo Alto–born artist and writer based in San Francisco and New York. She first came into the public eye, anonymously, as “Emily Doe,” the victim of a 2015 Stanford University sexual assault whose powerful impact statement presented in court went viral. Miller relinquished her anonymity and reclaimed her identity in September 2019, when she published the critically acclaimed memoir, “Know My Name.” I was, I am, I will be is Miller’s first commissioned artwork for a museum.
“The idea was to make the artwork visible from the street as a source of warmth or this beacon in the dark…but now with Covid, I think the city really needs it — I need it.” — Abby Chen, Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art — The New York Times
Watch Chanel Miller talk about her work as an artist (3:52 min.)
Organizers & Sponsors
Curated by Abby Chen, Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art.
Chanel Miller: I was, I am, I will be is a part of the Asian American Experience, which is made possible with the generous support of Glen S. and Sakie T. Fukushima, an anonymous donor in memory of Ambassador and Mrs. Sampson Shen, and Claudine Cheng.
Sustained support generously provided by the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Endowment Fund for Exhibitions.