Welcome to A People's Atlas of Nuclear Colorado

To experience the full richness of the Atlas, please view on desktop.
Mallery Quetawki, Details from DNA Damage and DNA Repair, 2017, courtesy the artist


DNA Damage and DNA Repair

DNA damage can occur naturally or by environmental factors such as: chemical carcinogens, reactive oxygen species, radiation, and certain atmospheric pollutants.  In this painting each type of factor is a literal “wrecking-ball” causing damage to a strand of DNA. The painted designs are taken from Pendleton blankets that are used both in gift giving, trade, and ceremony. These designs are from a collection of tribes throughout the southwest and beyond, so it is used in this painting to signify how we are all connected. 

Semi-abstract painting in a black, brown, red, and white palette with Zuni motifs and a diagonal double-helix strand being broken by small yellow radioactive waste symbols.
Mallery Quetawki, DNA Damage, 2017, courtesy the artist

DNA has the ability to repair itself through complex mechanisms and pathways when damage occurs. Its intricacy of repair can be compared to the creation of beaded items in Native Culture. Designs are thought out ahead and require skill and patience to be able to bead such intricate pieces. When a beaded necklace comes undone, the stones/beads are restrung by using what is already there. The design used is from the Crow Nation. The use of the flower design symbolizes the idea of regrowth.   

Semi-abstract painting with a blue, pink, green and white palette on a black background featuring geometic and floral Zuni motifs and a beadlike double-helix design being sewn together with a needle and thread.
Mallery Quetawki, DNA Repair, 2017, courtesy the artist


Mallery Quetawki (Zuni Pueblo), DNA Damage and DNA Repair, acrylic on watercolor paper, 16 x 20 inches, 2017.

Last Updated:


Begin "A People's Atlas of Nuclear Colorado"