‘Identification’ gives opportunity to explore empathy, intimacy

By: Ayse Altunisik – Staff Writer

If you’re looking to explore human rights at the University of Dayton and learn something new about the topic, check out Identification, an exhibit through the Creative Culture Exchange. It’s sure to evoke thought in any UD student.

Created for ArtStreet by local artist Amy Kollar Anderson, Identification includes paintings and a station that encourages the viewer to “explore empathy for others.” The work is inspired by the study of mirror neurons, the origin of empathy in the mind, and how these neurons connect us to the feelings and actions of others.

ArtStreet, looking to create new work centered on the idea of human rights in contemporary America, reached out to Anderson. The UD theme of Rites. Rights. Writes. is part of a partnership with UD’s Right Here, Right Now theme of social justice and violence awareness, as well as the Green Dot Strategy. According to UD’s website, “any moment of empathy, where someone takes one small action to decrease violence, is a green dot in our community”.

“Amy was the first artist we reached out to in hopes of an alternative way of looking at human rights,” said Brian LaDuca, director of ArtStreet. “This is all new work that Amy created for this exhibition.”

LaDuca explained how Identification looks at and focuses on empathy.

“With Identification, she looked at what it means in today’s world and how it is used and what that kind of mindset stands for in a world that is so quick to act and react,” LaDuca said.

“As the director of ArtStreet, I’m really blown away by the power and intimacy of it. We had the opening reception and it was very engaging. There was a smile and power in the room, and a really awesome sense of community,” LaDuca said.

With the interactive piece in the exhibit, people can reflect on their own empathetic areas or a moment of time where they felt very sympathetic or good about something. Participants are encouraged to draw out this experience on a piece of fabric in the exhibit, explained LaDuca.

Anderson began working on the exhibit in September and finished around early January. LaDuca explained that this art exhibit was different from past human rights awareness displays.

“She was dealing with such an intense subject matter, yet her approach to it was so delicate and so light, but was equally as powerful,” LaDuca said. “This challenge allowed her to dip into a more humanistic and naturalistic forum, which is different from how she usually works.”

Identification runs until Monday, Feb. 10, and is open Monday through Friday in ArtStreet Studio D Gallery. For more information, contact ArtStreet at (937) 229-5101.