The NHGRI-funded Human Pangenome Reference Consortium launched a new website in the fall of 2020. The inspiration from the opening video comes from a screen-printed paper — Untitled (Colored People Grid) — owned by the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University. The artist is Carrie Mae Weems, who is considered one of the most influential American artists. Weems focuses on cultural identity and race in America, seeking to capture the breadth and depth of America’s complex culture. This work, in particular, features models photographed at an age “when issues of race really begin to affect you, at the point of an innocence beginning to be disrupted,” in Weems’ words. The work aims to reclaim the term “colored people,” turning it into a source of strength and pride.
The Human Genome Reference Project (HPRC) seeks to capture a portion of the human race’s diversity and use this information to improve equity in research methods and healthcare delivery systems. Beyond this, the HPRC seeks to be a part of an international effort to improve the human condition by bringing more diverse representation to genetics research.
© Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.