Radical Empathy by Stephanie Sesguino featured in Drake Gallery


Boraan Abdulkarim

Artist Stephanie Seguino’s work is displayed in the exhibition Radical Empathy in the Drake Gallery.

A student seeking a change of pace in the five minutes before her next class enters the Drake Gallery, its white walls illuminated by the bright sunlight seeping inside.

She slowly walks along the wall until she comes face to face with… another face. On 13 x 20 inch archival paper, she looks into the eyes of…




Radical Empathy, a series of 9 diptychs and one portrait, is an interactive analysis of judgement, perspective, image, and the contradictions associated with these. With the exception of the single portrait of the artist’s son and inspiration for the project, Dante, 2006, each piece in the series is composed of a close-up shot of the subject’s face juxtaposed next to a wider shot of the subject from a different perspective, usually a more alien one, always excluding the subject’s face: hoodie up, back turned away from the camera, slouching in a chair.

The artist behind these photographs, Stephanie Seguino, gives some background; “the age range [of the subjects] is about 20 to 64. Their backgrounds include student, middle school math teacher, dentist, former archivist for the Smithsonian, professor…and community organizer,” Seguino said. “I developed a bond with each of them, and am honored they trusted me with their stories, their spirit, intelligence, and in a number of cases, their pain.”

The striking exhibit was originally published at FlynDogg Gallery in Burlington last May Permission to display it in Drake through a friend of Upper School Photography instructor Linda Brooks: Randall Jackson, who is depicted in the exhibition as the subject in the piece Reuben, 2015. After acquiring extra funding from the diversity committee to cover the cost of shipping from a non-local artist, the matted works were displayed in the gallery for the exhibit.

UPDATE 2/25/16: The photographer was misnamed as Susan. Her actual name is Stephanie.

UPDATE 3/3/16: One of the subjects was referred to as Randall. The actual name is Reuben.