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Recognition Gallery




Sally Curcio's current work examines the universal need for recognition, and both the reverence and absurdity that need inspires.

Through paintings of United Nations military ribbons, YouTube videos of reality TV talent shows, and mirror sculptures that blur the subject and the object recognized, Curcio explores the human need for recognition, and the paradoxical and hopeful trend toward democratizing that recognition. 

Curcio created an eight foot painting of the ribbon UNIKOM – United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission. The United Nations ribbon appears as an abstract color field painting. Curcio was interested to learn that the composition of the ribbon is meant to show that the broad buff-colored bands represent the wide expanse of desert in Iraq and Kuwait, and the light blue center signifies the thin blue United Nations line in the sand to establish and protect sovereignty. The simplicity of the ribbon brings to mind Barnett Newman’s “Zip” paintings with its single stripe down a canvas. Newman said, “I feel the stripe does not divide the painting. It does the exact opposite. It does not cut the form in half or in parts. It unites the thing and creates a totality.” 

Using Newman’s perspective, the soft blue UN lines in the ribbon can be seen as a unifying force, through the peaceful recognition of sovereignty and oneness of that eventual peaceful recognition of difference.


A second piece, is a sculpture entitled Ubuntu - Self Portrait. It is an interactive piece where one person stands on one side of a mirror with clear horizontal stripes and matches their mirror image of their face with the clear stripes of someone else looking at them from the other side. Both people see a portrait consisting of their faces merged into one. The piece was inspired by President Barack Obama’s eulogy to Nelson Mandela:


“There is a word in South Africa — Ubuntu, a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: His recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us. ... He not only embodied Ubuntu, he taught millions to find that truth within themselves.”

In a third piece, video clips from the television show America’s Got Talent, Arab’s Got Talent, Ukraine’s Got Talent and Japan’s Got Talent, etc., continue to reveal the universal need for recognition, and the drama and emotion of bringing someone to a moment of recognition for their talents. On this platform, contenders attempt to touch the lives of others, and gain their recognition, through the beauty and originality of their performance. Viewing the diversity, yet overwhelming similarity, for this show among sundry countries reveals the need for recognition as deep and universal. Curcio is suggesting there is common longing of humanity to be recognized and to connect with others, and there are many strategies to gather this recognition.

Curcio’s work reminds us that the world changes as we become more generous in the recognition of others. When the subjugated become recognized as equals, while preserving their differences, social progress is made. Within the last 150 years, in the USA women have gained the right to vote, humans do not recognize others as slaves, and now we observe the fight for recognition of normalcy and equality for same sex marriage. The path of democratizing of recognition is the move to equality born of increasing compassion. It reveals itself in the absurdity and guilty pleasures of talent contests, and in the real advancement of acceptance and peace. 

J.M.M. Wilson III, PhD























Severe – High – Elevated – Guarded – Low, 2014
Acrylic paint on panel, 36 x 36 inches

President George W. Bush established the Homeland Security Advisory System by presidential directive on March 11, 2002, just a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The five levels were intended to identify the risk of terrorist 

Red = Severe
Orange = High
Yellow = Elevated
Blue = Guarded
Green = Low

"The old color coded system taught Americans to be scared, not prepared," said ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi. "Each and every time the threat level was raised, very rarely did the public know the reason, how to proceed, or for how long to be on alert. I have raised concerns for years about the effectiveness of the system and have cited the need for improvements and transparency. Many in Congress felt the system was being used as a political scare tactic -- raising and lowering the threat levels when it best suited the Bush administration."

Color-coded threat system to be replaced in April, By the CNN Wire Staff January 26, 2011 5:51 p.m. EST





























United Nations Ribbons, 2014
Acrylic paint on panel, 39 panels at 6 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches

Thirty five United Nations ribbons in the chronological order in which they were issued. The ribbons are in chronological order starting from the bottom right (the oldest ribbon). then read from right to left. The top left is the most recent ribbon in this group.

The United Nations ribbons colors often reflect the colors in the landscapes where the missions took place, their flag colors, and the United Nations blue color.

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization established on 
October 24, 1945 to promote international co-operation. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was created following the Second World War to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. 

The UN Headquarters resides in international territory in Manhattan, New York City, with further main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.

The color system was replaced in April 2011.

































Ubuntu - Portrait, 2014
Acrylic glass and mirror tape, 60 x 40 inches

This is an Interactive piece; please follow these directions.

(1) You need a partner to interact with the art piece. 
(2) Stand on one side of the acrylic glass. 
(3) Have your partner stand on the other side of the acrylic glass.
(4) Arrange yourselves so your faces are at the same level.
(5) Match the mirror image of your face with the clear stripes of someone else looking at you from the other side. 

You will both see a portrait of your faces merged into one.

You might have much of the world’s riches, and you might hold a portion of authority, but if you have no ubuntu, you do not amount to much. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“The philosophy of Ubuntu derives from a Nguni word, ubuntu meaning "the quality of being human." Ubuntu manifests itself through various human acts, clearly visible in social, political, and economic situations, as well as among family. 

According to sociolinguist Buntu Mfenyana, ubuntu "runs through the veins of all Africans, is embodied in the oft-repeated: "Ubuntu ngumtu ngabanye abantu" ("A person is a person through other people"). This African proverb reveals a world view that we owe our selfhood to others, that we are first and foremost social beings, that, if you will, no man or woman is an island, or as the African would have it, "One finger cannot pick up a grain." 

Ubuntu is, at the same time, a deeply personal philosophy that calls on us to mirror our humanity for each other. To the observer, ubuntu can be seen and felt in the spirit of willing participation, unquestioning cooperation, warmth, openness, and personal dignity demonstrated by the indigenous black population. From the cradle, every African child inculcates these qualities so that by the time adulthood is reached, the ubuntu philosophy has become a way of being. The principles of ubuntu must be applied to the new generation of our children to not just pursue the Western dream but to use collective gifts for the community.” 

Excerpt from the article “Ubuntu: Applying African Philosophy in Building Community”
By Reverend William E. Flippin, Jr., The Huffington Post 02/05/2012

Art piece inspired by a mirror game and the work of Yoko Ono.























The Flag of the United States of America, 2014
Acrylic paint on panel, 25 ¼” x 48”

Title 4, Chapter 1

§ 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of freedom and liberty to which Americans pledge their allegiance. It consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes and 50 white stars on a blue field, with each star representing a state.

The colors on the flag represent:

Red: Valor and bravery
White: Purity and innocence
Blue: Vigilance, perseverance, and justice

Recognition Text
Alert text
UN Ribbon Text
Ubuntu Text
Flag Text
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