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  • Writer's pictureNina Sumarac Jablonsky

Never Hade @ The exhibition Our DNA, Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Updated: Mar 9

Never Hide, Nina Sumarac, 2021

Prospectus: We humans are biological siblings, belonging to the genus Homo and, as Sapiens, the last surviving species of our genus. The last year spoke loudly of division and differences. We learned important lessons of history and identity, addressing racial, economic, political, and religious divides. We’ve been physically separated and isolated in unfamiliar ways by a disease not bound by our labels. But if we shift focus to a macro view, we lay bare fundamental truths about what unites us – the simple fact of our membership in the human race.

Understanding the human genome has led to DNA technologies that are the basis of the first Covid vaccines. Science teaches us that we are 99.9% identical in our genetic makeup. Our defining characteristics – large brains, upright posture, ability and vision to create tools, to create art – bind us in irrevocable ways. Our commonalities extend further, into myth creation, religion, shared symbols and archetypes, and questions about the riddles of life. Scientists answer these riddles in one way, while philosophers, poets, and artists also offer wise perspectives regarding universal principles that speak to and about us as humans.

For this exhibit artists are asked to step back from the trees to better see the forest. While we value the irrefutable histories and identities defining our differences, we’ll instead focus on the irrefutable truth of our 99.9% shared genome. Using any tools or languages, explore the belief systems and vocabularies of our family tree that touch on our common destiny and collective value to remind us who we are, explain us to ourselves, to reveal something of our common physical or metaphorical DNA, our essential humanity, the soul of the Sapien.

Never Hide, Nina Sumarac, 2021

Having reviewed submissions from as far away as Cyprus, and as close as our own Elm City, the jury curated an exhibition showcasing the responses of 54 artists working in a wide range of media.

Participating Artists: Eduardo Alvarez, Mark Battista, Robert Bienstock, Marsha Borden, Frank Bruckmann, Jill Butcher, William Butcher, Jeanette Compton, Penrhyn Cook, Rod Cook, Gabriella DiMaio, Anne Doris-Eisner, Jacqueline Allen Doucot, Tom Edwards, Daniel Eugene, Joe Fekieta, Brian Flinn, Kathryn Frederick, Kathryn Frund, Sean Patrick Gallagher, Jeffrey Gangwisch, Warda Geismar, Ellen Gordon, Dan Gries, Andrea Haas, Amy Hannum, Nina Sumarac Jablonsky, Sandra Jeknavorian, Aude Jomini, Ruth Kennedy, Earl Grenville Killeen, Eben Kling, Karl Kroeppler, Daudi Lazarre, Briah Luckey, Howard Margules, Christian Miller, Roy Money, David Ottenstein, Hilary Opperman, Donna Owens, Hank Paper, Tina Psoinos, Robert Schwarz, Sheri Schwarz, Anne Sheffield, Ada Monica Sperling, Geoffrey Stein, Lisa Toto, Joshua Unikel, Amanda Walker, Brian Williams, Marjorie Gillette Wolfe, Lauren Woods, Jessica Zamachaj

The following events, both in-person and virtual, are planned:

Opening Reception, Thursday, June 24th, 4-7pm: Come on over to KLG — in-person! — to get a closer look at the artworks in this unique exhibition. The reception will feature a live tap performance by Alexis Robbins at 5:30pm. Though masks will be required while inside the gallery, all guests will receive discount coupons to some of our delicious neighboring restaurants, and are invited to continue their art-inspired conversations over refreshments available for sale in Westville’s newest outdoor space across the street, The Patio on Central Avenue. All beverage sales will support ArtEcon Initiative’s arts and community programs -- such as this evening's tap performance!

SalonThrive, Sunday, July 11th, 5pm-6pm: SalonThrive is a virtual gathering place for art discussion and discovery on the zoom platform. With each new episode, all who log-on have an intimate opportunity to explore the work, ideas and influences of the featured artists. This month, we will begin with a video walk-through of the current exhibition, Our DNA, spotlighting several of the participating artists. This event is free and open to all, but RSVPs are required. Click HERE to register. You will only need to register once for the series. This series is presented in partnership with ArtEcon Initiative.

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