Crafted by artist Suprina Troche, the DNA Totem, standing at the entrance to the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum at a towering height of 9 feet, portrays the intricate structure of the DNA strand. Its framework is constructed from steel, and this steel pipe strand is adorned with discarded objects that form a part of our daily waste.

This imposing creation serves as a poignant reflection on our evolutionary journey and the lasting impact we make on the environment. As the only beings on Earth that generate such a significant amount of refuse, it prompts us to question whether this inclination towards destructiveness is ingrained in our DNA

The sculpture aims to initiate a dialogue about why humans, sharing a remarkably similar DNA with other creatures on Earth, are contributing to the degradation of our surroundings. Unlike other animals whose waste can be naturally absorbed by the Earth, our actions leave an indelible mark. Remarkably, each individual, from birth to death, produces a staggering 102 tons of waste, prompting contemplation on our collective impact on the environment.

“I am excited to be showcasing the DNA Totem here at the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum because it demonstrates so well the powerful connection between art and science. The DNA Totem serves as a catalyst for reflection and conversation,” says Jeff Sasson, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum. “It is a timely example of art helping to spark a change in our harmful environmental practices.”

Suprina Troche studied sculpture at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia but gained the bulk of her knowledge of her craft from working in the field of promotional, prop making. Her clients included Annie Leibovitz, Apple, Bloomingdales, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After 9/11, having lived in the neighborhood at the time, Suprina decided she would focus solely on her own artworks, which discuss environmental, social, and political issues. Find more of Suprina’s work here.