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Stony Brook’s climate change gallery features Indigenous art to focus on environmental justice

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Stony Brook University
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Damon, creator of The Primary Motion of Water is the Vortex, hopes to “invite people to know their waters, to be in relationship with each other, and to work within and across communities worldwide to repair the living system.”

Sculptures, drawings, performances and video games: Stony Brook University’s art gallery highlights the importance of water and its role in environmental justice.

The Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery exhibit, “Connecting the Drops: the Power of Water" features seven environmental artists, including from the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island and the Croatan Oyate Nation in northeast South Dakota, to “inspire contemplation and action to make our world a better place for people, animals, and plants and the water that sustains us all,” according to the exhibit catalog.

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Stony Brook University
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Alicia Grullón, creator of “7 Stories About Water” has a multichannel video installation that reflects on the consciousness of water and how it interconnects into people’s lives.

Their work addresses topics that reflect Long Island’s effort to expand community access to clean water and the impact of ocean acidification.

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Maxine Hicks
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Stony Brook University
Courtney Leonard's artwork is inspired by Shinnecock Bay in this exhibit, showing “waterscape exists as a part of our cultural landscape, its movement, its abundance, its life, shapes our relationship and understanding of and with one another.”

The exhibit is “focused on environmental justice and the vital importance of water,” said Georgia LaMair, the gallery’s public programs manager. “The exhibition presents seven women artists whose work addresses topics such as the Shinnecocks' historical ties to water and oyster farming, community access to clean water, carbon absorption by the oceans, glacial melting and the social impact of climate change.”

Karen Levitov, the Zuccaire Gallery director and curator, chose these seven artists for the project because they are community leaders, some on Long Island, and long-time environmental artists.

LaMair said she hopes that visitors will see and feel the inspiration to act through the “existing connection between the arts and STEM,” and that it connects us all through the issue of climate change.

Lillian Ball, the creator of GO H.O.M.E. Bimini, said in a statement that she believes that she “hopes that visitors will be able to place themselves within the greater framework of crucial ecosystem issues and see how truly impactful their actions and perhaps in some cases how detrimental their inaction can actually be.”

The climate change exhibit is running from July 21-October 29, 2022. It is on the first floor of the Staller Center of the Arts on the Stony Brook campus and is free to the public.

Janet is a news intern at WSHU for the fall of 2022.