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January 13 - June 17, 2018

Dear Human

Curated by Melanie Egan

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January 13 – June 17

Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O’Connell of Dear Human are thoughtful artists and makers. They combine their extensive knowledge and backgrounds in sculpture, ceramics and public art to create intermediary works that exist between art, craft and design.

They quietly go about making the world a better place by repurposing paper destined for recycling depots. They forage and scavenge with well-practiced skills to obtain the perfect paper to turn into their signature pulp. This pulp is then transformed into an array of tactile objects such as lighting, baskets, tiles, and even furniture. More recently they have created a delightful family of robot-like figures called New Friends, all punctuated with pleasing patterns and lively colours.

Dear Human possess what author Matthew B. Crawford calls “material reality” and what dancers call “spatial awareness.” Paper pulp is ideally suited for their forms: malleable and sturdy, it has a history of mimicking other materials like stone, concrete and ceramics. These qualities appeal to Dear Human, as does the curiosity that their work provokes. As well, when they are designing collections interesting relationships and visual dialogues develop between the objects and their surroundings.

The dynamic quality of inbetweenness embraced by Dear Human comfortably crisscrosses the parameters of sculpture and design, function and non-function resulting in – in their own words – “unexpected moments in everyday environments.”

– Melanie Egan

Part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (January 15-21, 2018)


Dear Human is Montreal-based duo Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O’Connell. Jasna grew up in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia and immigrated to Canada in the 1990s. She earned a BFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver. Noel left his native United States after university to study in Thailand and China. He returned to the US to complete his MFA at Rhode Island School of Design, with a focus in ceramics and sculpture.

The pair met at an artist residency in Denmark in 2008. While working on their individual fine art practices, Noel and Jasna began experimenting together on collaborative urban-interventions, public art, and design-oriented projects. As their collaborative work gained momentum, it quickly became their primary focus and Dear Human was born.


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