Mixed Media Art

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Exploration through Printmaking:

My Ancestor's Hand on Mine (A set of 6)

The concept of epigenetic inheritance in humans (https://newatlas.com/epigenetic-inheritance-dna-offspring/54161/) sparked an interest in reconsidering the connection to my ancestors. To explore the concept, I chose printmaking as a medium.

Printmaking is a process that requires repetition: Spread the ink on a gelatin plate. Place stencils over the ink. Lay down a piece of paper. Rub the paper. Peel the paper. As I repeated this process over and over, I derived several images from the same hand-shaped stencils. The result was a group of images that were related but distinct, just like family members and relatives. In some images, the veins of an ancestor’s hand clearly touches the veins in my hand. In other images, the connection is faint. The process of creating these images reflects how genes and life experiences could be passed down to future generations: there are repetitions, some elements are more pronounced than others, and at times no connection is apparent. A change in one gene may act as a template for future versions, much like how a torn stencil changes the images I’d make with it in future prints.   

I am interested in knowing what my ancestors experienced. I am interested in understanding what they left within me. The repetitive printmaking process felt like asking them questions over and over: “How am I related to you, my ancestors? What connects us? Have your experiences influenced my view of the world?”  These prints are field notes of my inquiries to the ancestors.