Finger Print DNA,
A Portrait of an Arab-American Family
In 2003-04 I hired a Genetics student to make paternity genetic tests of my husbands Arab American Family. “Finger Print DNA, A Portrait of an Arab American Family” is a result of those tests. The form these tests take, a thick gel, is layered with the marks of DNA. In order to produce the effect of the gel I scanned and enlarged the tests and printed them using dye sublimation on Ultra Sheer, a silk like material layered them into a loom-like structure. The panels were hand-dyed and sewn through to emphasize and connect the dark marks made by the accumulation of DNA. Each panel is the results from different tests comparing members of the family.
The metal structure that the panels hang in are a replica of an upright rug loom. The art of rug making has been done for centuries in the Arab world, and like the genetic material, the patterns are handed down through generations.
A DNA test of Arab American Family is of particular interest at this time when those of the Arabic community in America and worldwide are closely watched and are viewed skeptically.
In reproducing and layering these pieces, one can see that the identity markers of members of the family are aligned. This work is a literal representation of the characteristics carried for generations within one family.
This piece was designed for the Portland Building installation space in 2005 and traveled to The Mooney Exhibition Center, College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, New York in 2005.