by Abbey Good
For most of the year, Guerry Hall is deserted, and that’s to be expected. With all of the orientation events done and over with, there has not been a real need for students to flock to Guerry. That is, until the Strangers and Relations exhibit by Laurel Nakadate arrived at the University Art Gallery on Jan 18. Strangers and Relations is an exhibit featuring twenty photographs of friends and distant family members of the artist herself.
Nakadate didn’t use her immediate family. Instead, she used her extended family members that she found on genetic discovery websites like Ancestry.com. Not only does this gallery feature the artist’s roots but it can also be considered a snapshot of America in 2013. Seventeen of the twenty portraits are distantly related to her on her mother’s side. During the process of finding models for her art, Nakadate discovered that she was descended from slaves, pilgrims, and even the famous Anne Hutchinson.
The photographs in the collection are shot at night, usually with a sunset fading in the distance with the subject illuminated by the dim glow of a flashlight. In each photograph there is a story just waiting to be told. Each subject was able to choose what they wore to the shoot, and in doing so they revealed a little bit of themselves. One woman is surrounded by Shetland ponies and wore a shirt that read, “May the horse be with you.” Another woman is pictured with an LGBT pin, and in another photograph, a man is shown with a robe and cowboy boots. Come by the University Art Gallery in Guerry and look for the stories in each photograph.
Strangers and Relations will be on display from Jan 18 – April 6. The artist will have a meet and greet on Friday, April 4.