The Human Family Tree/A Walk through Paradise...seven installations

Heidi Hardin's Artist Statement

It is my belief that the peoples of the earth live within webs of cultural and social forces, much as stars and planets exist within webs of natural forces that both bind them together and keep them apart.  Though we seem to live as separate individuals, nations, cultures, and faiths, in truth we are as one in our humanity.  My current project, Human Family Tree/A Walk through Paradise…, (Paradise...)  is an evocation of the universality of the human family through a multimedia meditation on the experiences we share, regardless of faith, culture, or ethnicity.

My life and art have taught me that a true code of ethics must be based on trust in the deep spiritual intimacy that can bind us all together.  In this faith I walk through our earthly paradise, at home with that universal family.  The current body of work embodies this faith, celebrating home and family, earth and humanity.  Paradise… centers on families who are followers of various major world religions.  Each successive installation (seven in all) will focus on a single religion, presenting 78 paintings in a multimedia installation including touching objects, environmental displays, and original music.  (See a map of the layout of all seven installations below.)  All paintings will be based on photographs of the past century of families of different ethnicity, who stand as icons for all peoples who have journeyed to America to make their home.  In each installation a labyrinth of footpaths and columns replicating the mythic Tree of Life (image below) will create a “walk through paradise” among the paintings. When complete, this project will survey the assimilation of immigrants to America through public education, advertising, and the Brownie camera.

Part I of Paradise…, The Human Family Tree. focuses on four Christian families of Asian, African, Latin and European descent. The Human Family Tree debuted at the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco, CA on December 19, 2000 through January 14. 2001. It was then shown at Newspace Los Angeles from September 11 through October 13, 2001.  Part II, Families in Paradise was exhibited at SomArts Main Gallery in San Francisco from January 8 through 28, 2004.   Part III, Art of the Family is currently in progress. When Part III is complete, four Jewish and four Islamic families of different ethnicity, respectively, will be portrayed in these latter two installations.

Think Round's current emphasis will be to host simultaneous exhibitions of these first three installations under the title: Families of Abraham and is intended to serve as a touchstone for panel discussions and family art making on the topic of global social and political conflict resolution among these family members. Selected paintings from The Families of Abraham exhibit are scheduled for exhibition from October 18 through December 30, 2013 at Hardin Studios in San Francisco, CA. For more information about Paradise... or if you would like to participate, volunteer, become a subject family of Paradise... please contact: heidi@heidihardin.com. To see all 78 paintings, each, of the Parts I and II, Human Family Tree and Families in Paradise, visit www.heidihardin.com.

The music and sound environments for Paradise... are created by Los Angeles composer, Jonathan Sacks, a long-time collaborator with Hardin. Both are fellow graduates of Masters programs in art and music from UC San Diego. Sacks' orchestrations are part of Hollywood blockbusters like Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc., Toy Stories, and Seabiscuit. Hardin's paintings been exhibited in museums and galleries since the early 1980s. The artist was represented by Newspace, LA until 2006 when the gallery closed and its archives were transferred to the Smithsonian Institute. Since that time her artwork has been represented by HARDIN STUDIOS San Franciso.