Date Posted

Art & Nature, Laguna Art Museum
Sunday November 6, 2022 3:00pm

Join Art & Nature featured artist, Rebeca Méndez, along with distinguished panelists Lihini Aluwihare, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Alissa Deming, David Valentine, and moderator Rosanna Xia as they come together to explore the relationships between science, art, and the environment. With a specific focus on DDT, the panelists will discuss the multifaceted ways contaminant dumping have shaped our marine ecosystems and impacted the other organisms we share our marine systems with. The panel will also celebrate artworks that are an intersection of art and science in bringing out environmental issues and explore how they can be made more accessible.

Advance tickets recommended.
Museum members: $20
Non-members: $30

Rebeca Méndez is an artist, designer and chair of the Design Media Arts department at UCLA, where she is also director of the CounterForce Lab. Her research and practice investigate design and media art in public spaces, critical approaches to public identities and landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. In addition to her many great permanent public commissions, including two for the Metro Art Crenshaw/LAX project and three for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Méndez’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Among them are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca in Mexico, the El Paso Museum of Art and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From 2017 through 2019 she served as selecting committee member for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award.

Lihini Aluwihare is a chemical oceanographer, she was born in Sri Lanka and lived in Zambia and England before moving to the United States for college and post-graduate studies. Arriving at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 2000, she studies the cycling of carbon and nitrogen in the oceans using light isotope tools and organic matter chemical characterization. Aluwihare received her bachelor’s in chemistry and philosophy from Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. in Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.

Elizabeth DeLoughrey is a professor at UCLA who teaches postcolonial and Indigenous literature courses on the environment, ocean studies, and climate change. DeLoughrey holds joint appointments in English and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. She is the co-editor of multiple books and journal issues about postcolonial literature and the environment; her most recent book, Allegories of the Anthropocene, focuses on visual arts and literature in the wake of militarism and empire with a particular focus on the oceanic imaginary. Her research has been supported by institutions such as the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Fulbright, Rachel Carson Center (Munich, and the Cornell Society for the Humanities.

Alissa Deming is the Vice President of Conservation Medicine and Science at PMMC. She is responsible for the medical care of all in-hospital patients and provides medical care to live dolphins and pinnipeds that strand alive on Orange County beaches. Dr. Deming’s research efforts are focused on a commonly diagnosed cancer in wild California sea lions. She is the Chair of the Sea Lion Cancer Consortium (SLiCC) and leads the sea lion cancer research at PMMC. Her principal research interest is to study disease patterns in marine mammal populations to better understand the impacts of human and environmental factors on ecosystem health. Dr. Deming received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and PhD in Comparative, Diagnostic and Population Medicine from the University of Florida. She has an extensive veterinary medicine background, having worked as a clinical veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld San Diego and the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program.

David Valentine holds the Norris Presidential Endowed Chair in Earth Science, is the founding director of the Marine Science program in the College of Creative Studies and is a Professor of Geochemistry and Microbiology. He holds a BS in Biochemistry/Chemistry and an MS in Chemistry from UC San Diego, and an MS and PhD in Earth System Science from UC Irvine. He held an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in microbial biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and has been a professor at UC Santa Barbara since 2001. Professor Valentine’s research interests focus on the interaction of microbes and chemicals – how the smallest living beings impact Earth’s environment and how the environment structures the ecology and evolution of the microbes. His projects include study of Archaea, methane’s biogeochemistry, hydrocarbon seeps and spills, accelerated microbial evolution, microbial symbiosis, ocean exploration, the application of microbial technology to address societal problems, and the development of stable-isotope-based tools. Dr. Valentine is also actively engaged in the communication of science beyond his peer group, through media and other stakeholders.

Rosanna Xia is an environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she specializes in stories about the coast and ocean. Her reporting connects science and policy and has led to new laws and regulations. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020 for an explanatory piece on sea level rise, and her coverage of a toxic dumpsite in the deep ocean has been featured in the “Best American Science and Nature Writing” anthology.