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What We Inherit

By: Lucy Miller-Downing

29"x40

Hand Cut Collage

Some people inherit money, or land, or belt buckles. I inherited mental illness. But in this piece, I wanted viewers to look at the individual strands of DNA, and notice that each are individual strips of paper, cut from images of nature, quilt patterns, music sheets and advertisements. They float upwards, to the night sky. They are events and histories that meld into our DNA like any other trait. They inspire both love and hate, pride and embarrassment, and are passed along and pushed upwards toward the sky with Darwinian stubbornness, like branches of a tree. What we inherit is a piece that I created to come to terms with the fact that the strength in my family is that we continue to survive and thrive with mental illness by latching onto the external influences that inspire us to move forward.

Hon. Mention · Adult Original Artwork (2020)