Watchung Reservation & the Visual Arts Center of NJ Present: “Reclamation” by Artist Nikolina Kovalenko

Nikolina Kovalenko taking a graphite rubbing of a harvested rainforest tree.

Artist Nikolina Kovalenko is interested in humanity’s vanishing connection with nature and the consequences our everyday actions have on the environment. That fascination provides the inspiration for her new exhibition, Reclamation, which will be on display at the Watchung Reservation’s Trailside Nature and Science Center, in Mountainside, NJ. Presented in partnership with the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, this show will be on view from October 12, 2018–February 12, 2019.

In 2017, Kovalenko visited the Amazon rainforest in Brazil to document the results of the logging process. While there, she created graphite rubbings of harvested trees, which she referred to as “fingerprints.” She then interviewed environmentalists and independent activists working in the area to help restore the rainforest. During those conversations she also took the fingerprints of the activists and asked them about the motivation behind their work. She later combined these three elements to create the artwork presented in Reclamation. The work on display is a series of diptych drawings pairing the graphite rubbings with the fingerprints, captioned with the activists’ explanation as to why they think it is important to preserve the rainforest.

Nikolina Kovalenko, Saving Trees Through Art 2, 2017, Graphite and acrylic on paper mounted on Masonite board, 36 x 60 in.

The artwork presented in this show is for sale and a portion of the profits will be donated to local communities in the Brazilian Amazon to help fund reforestation projects. The Trailside Nature and Science Center is located at 452 New Providence Road, Mountainside, NJ. Visit ucnj.org/trailside for more information.

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