11 May MFA Candidate Traci Reynolds featured in The Washington Post!
Detail of “Weep Sister Sing” (2023) by Traci Reynolds. (David Shafer)
Did you know that as of March 1, 2023, there are 172,700 women and girls incarcerated in the United States?
Today we highlight the incredible work of our MFA Candidate Traci Reynolds.
Reynolds was recently featured in The Washington Post in an article titled, “GMU student’s experience as a felon now informs her work as an artist.”
The article, written by Olivia McCormack of the Post goes on to say that eighteen years ago, Traci Reynolds became a felon who today is an artist who uses her work as a tool to remind people to, “stop and think about the lives of women who are behind bars.”
This compelling article shows the pathway from her multiple stints in jails and mental health facilities to her rediscovered love of the fine arts.
According to School of Art Professor, Wanda Raimundi- Ortiz, whose course Reynolds created the project for, “Traci is a deeply committed person whose drive and determination [are] matched by the love in her heart.” Raimundi-Ortiz has encouraged Reynolds to work through the stigma of the subject matter to create her world.
The article then goes on to say that Reynolds realized, “There’s this pipeline to incarceration [that] often starts in childhood.” She chose, as her starting point, an object that reflects the origin of innocence: a doll. The one she picked had a name, Nora, and reminded Reynolds of the type of doll she had as a child. “I took a doll’s face and I made a mold of [it], and then I started pressing faces out of that single mold.”
Her work, Weep Sister Sing, is on display at the Art and Design building until June 15. Reynolds molded 1,256 faces. Each face represents about 138 incarcerated individuals. I encourage you not only to see the work but also to read the full article! Read full article, here!
“Weep Sister Sing” is only partially lit. “One light working. The other light’s not working,” says Reynolds. “I don’t want it to be on. Because in jail, the lights are never right. There’s always a broken light.”
In one last remark from Reynolds she stated, “I was enabled, in some way, to survive this,” she says, “so I could help other women survive.”
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