For Asser Saint-Val, explorations of identity lead to a focus on differences under the skin. The Haitian-born artist began a lengthy investigation of the pigment that distinguishes diverse ethnic groups from each other.
In the course of my search for my own identity, the issue of melanin is continually surfacing. This recent body of work is an attempt to express this phenomenon and the role it plays amongst people of African descent, he explains. Melanin is the biological pigment that gives human skin and hair its color. Saint-Val, who is interested in the way science and biology have been used to justify false perceptions about people of color, studied "the phenomenon of melanin" and its role in people of all races. His findings became a series of paintings, part figurative and part something one might discover under a microscope. The intriguing works are on view in Asser Saint-Val: The Melanin Project, at the North Dade Regional Public Library, where the artist will deliver a lecture on his process this Friday at 6 p.m
Fri., Jan. 23, 2009