D Colin, “A Sturgeon’s Purpose” story murals

Writing and painting arts by local artist D. Colin

“A Sturgeon with a Purpose” is a walking story panel series by local artist/poet D. Colin, along one block on the “Sanctuary Eco-Art Trail” in North Central Troy. Through writing and painting, D. Colin depicts struggles alongside toxic shores and hopes for justice and a sustainable future.  

More about the Story

The story’s main topic will be about the effects pollution has on the surrounding environment and on the planet as a whole; \however it will also tie in themes of social injustices.

The story is about a young sturgeon who discovers that the Mahicantuck (Hudson River) waters are dirtier than they thought, and they must find a way to help restore it to its original beauty. A young sturgeon heads out to sea as an 11 year-old — and comes back as a mature adult at 21 to reproduce. The sturgeon connects with stories of wildlife and young people along river shores, who have to grow up earlier because of hardship.

The story panels will be accompanied by community participatory art projects and multimedia listening stations which feature stories of the Mahicantuck Indigenous perspective and engage audiences in deep listening along the urban walk.

The story asks, “What is the Sturgeon’s Purpose?”

  • Travel – purpose could be to find open space, enjoy what other ocean fish do, survive against all the odds especially being endangered
  • Think in relation to both Indigenous/Black struggles
  • Themes of colonialism, displacement, discrimination, classism
  • “Every time a sturgeon comes back they’ve noticed the population decreases/ what would that experience look like during the gold rush? What does it look like to realize eggs are missing?” 
  • Conquest and Generational Trauma
A juvenile sturgeon

D Colin

D Colin is a multidisciplinary artist of Haitian descent, and the local Troy artist who is creating A Sturgeon’s Purpose story panels.
Her work has appeared in Trolley, Ink & Nebula, Jaded Ibis Press and Porter Gulch Review. She is the author of Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop.   She has been featured on PBS, Write About Now, NPR and has performed throughout the United States and internationally.
Beyond poetry, D. Colin has navigated the stage as an actor performing in productions with Black Theater Troupe of Upstate NY and Creative Action Unlimited. Her one woman show Simone appeared at Capital Rep Theater and she has spent years performing reenactments most often as Sojourner Truth. As an emerging artist, she has shown art at the Underground Railroad Education Center,  Albany Center Gallery and the Arts Center of the Capital Region.
Although she grew up in Connecticut, she has called New York’s capital region home since 2007. With an educational background in English and Africana Studies, her work, no matter the medium, discusses the human condition, aims to create visibility and uses history and activism as its foundation. She is the 2022 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award recipient for UAlbany’s Alumni Association.
She is also a Cave Canem, VONA and New York State Writers Institute fellow.  She currently sits on the board for The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Black Dimensions in Art and is a founding member of the Social Justice Artist Collective.  She believes in Nina Simone’s words that “an artist’s duty is to reflect the times” and often says, “if the art didn’t move you, then I didn’t do my job.”

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We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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