Drawing on Culture: West Africa is the first in what I see to be a series of artworks that explore various cultures from around the world, based on my travels and experiences in those places.

Consisting of nearly 30 new artworks — many done on location while living in small villages along the Niger River in Guinea — the series attempts to portray the character and personalities of an ancient culture living in the modern world. Each artwork contains a story: who is this person, and what life have they lived? What joys and struggles have they known? By sharing a glimpse into their lives, I hope to reveal the commonalities that connect us as human beings — and celebrate the uniqueness of these people’s particular way of expressing themselves in their own place in space.

Each culture on Earth is a strand in the collective fabric that is our human legacy. As we come to understand that we are all cut from the same genetic cloth, we can begin to see that each culture represents a unique expression of our potential as creative, intelligent beings. Drawing on Culture celebrates that potential — and in doing so, is itself part of an effort to prevent further degradation of the diversity of this legacy worldwide.

Artist Statement

I make art that celebrates the legacy of imagination and spirit embodied in the world’s cultural diversity.

Around the planet, we are one people united by a shared spiritual adventure on Earth. Culture is an expression of that journey, and our cultural diversity is both our human legacy and a testament to the wide range of creativity and adaptivity we embody as a species.

Through my work as an artist, I aim to promote the need for diverse modes of thinking and being in the world — and nowhere is this diversity of thought better expressed than in the multitude of indigenous cultures living in the world today.

Combining travel and research with my storytelling and art, I seek to reveal the faces of ancient cultures living in the modern world, and draw attention to their needs and challenges as they struggle to maintain their identity, lands, and heritage.

Through art that inspires and informs, I hope to evoke a sense of interconnectedness and compassion for all peoples by celebrating those things which unite us as humans: friendship and laughter, family and community, music and dance.

Finally, through my involvement with specific communities in places like Guinea, West Africa, I hope that the funds I raise through my work can be used to assist in projects in those communities, as expressed by the people themselves.

Dave Kobrenski, September 2016

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