Genetic art

Genetic art
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First Published: Wed, Apr 08 2009. 11 28 PM IST

 Creative legacies: (Clockwise from top left) DNA 11 helps you wear your biological inheritance on the wall as a KISS Portrait, a FingerPrint or a DNA Portrait.
Creative legacies: (Clockwise from top left) DNA 11 helps you wear your biological inheritance on the wall as a KISS Portrait, a FingerPrint or a DNA Portrait.
Updated: Wed, Apr 08 2009. 11 28 PM IST
Next time you want to give your loved ones a truly unique gift, swab the inside of their cheek!
Reinventing the helix
Intrigued? DNA 11 Inc., a three-year-old Canada-based firm, marries science with art to create your genome sequence on canvas, branded as a DNA Portrait.
Creative legacies: (Clockwise from top left) DNA 11 helps you wear your biological inheritance on the wall as a KISS Portrait, a FingerPrint or a DNA Portrait.
In bright colours, pieces of the gene-based artwork—with names such as Ice, Atomic, Flamingo and Bronzage—represent your genetic code on canvas. And if you don’t have a penchant for chromosome-inspired compositions, there are FingerPrint and KISS Portrait options. Endorsed by The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, design stores in New York as innovative masterpieces, DNA Portrait makes the ultimate personal artistic statement.
DNA 11 was founded by Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed, and was brought to India by Qadir Rangwala in September. “It was during one of my visits to New York and to MoMA that I saw this esoteric canvas amidst some renowned work of artists,” recalls Rangwala. “When I got the full story about the creators (DNA 11) and how it works, I bought a canvas for myself. And then I thought, if it works for me, it would work for anyone else! I was very sure that this novel idea would be received well in India.”
A few meetings with the founders established the partnership, and DNA 11 came to India.
From swab to canvas
Simple steps: The ordering kit lets you take swabs and select colours.
To commission a DNA Portrait, you first order a DNA collection kit, which is mailed to you. It comes with step-by-step instructions on how to proceed. With what is basically a foam-tipped instrument resembling an ear bud, you swab the inside of your cheek to collect a cell sample, then transfer the sample to a chemical patch in the kit and mail it back to Rangwala.
This sample is then sent to a laboratory in New York for DNA analysis and later to Canada, where the genome sequence is sharpened, colours added, replicated as a print and then transferred to a canvas. The finished artwork is sent back to India within a month of the order having been placed.
Lips and tips
The same basic procedure is carried out for the FingerPrint and KISS Portrait, except that the samples are somewhat different. While fingerprinting makes use of a kit with an ink pad, all that a kiss requires is lipstick.
An extra personal touch
Your gene signature is as unique as your fingertips, of course. But what makes this artwork even more personal is a choice of colour and framing options made available to you. “You choose everything—the colour from the 25 designs that are available in each of these portraits, the size, the framing... And you can even sign the piece if you so wish!” says Rangwala.
Your family colours
DNA 11 also offers Couple DNA and Family DNA options. As the name suggests, Couple DNA is a set of two canvases created for partners, while the Family DNA canvas is a futuristic family portrait with your whole genetic code on the wall, which can be passed down for generations! DNA 11 can also create art out of the genetic code of your pet, if you so wish.
You can also ask for the GenePak with your DNA Portrait. “Because we are making something which has deep meaning, we want you to understand what this concept is about, therefore the GenePak,” says Rangwala. “DNA 11 identifies four genes for you, (coding) gender, brain, love and sports, and explains their significance and characteristics for you. Each DNA, of course, has a different reading,” Rangwala says.
Inheritance costs
Now the most important question: How affordable is this personalized art?
While an 18x24-inch canvas costs Rs30,000, a 36x54-inch one will set you back by Rs70,000. However, prices for the family DNA Portrait start from Rs1 lakh.
Seeding strategies
“The response has been phenomenal,” Rangwala says. The company has tied up with hospitals and luxury apartment builders to build its client base, and maternity homes are next in line.
“We are also trying new techniques within the portraits to give a wider choice to people. For example, we can now craft your DNA in glass or, if you fancy, on crystal with stunning lighting effects…,” says Rangwala. “After all, you are the artist here.”
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Photographs courtesy DNA 11
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First Published: Wed, Apr 08 2009. 11 28 PM IST