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Our Time On Earth - 18th Annual PEM Inspirational Exhibition 

Inspired by PEM - Our Time on Earth:  Our 18th Annual PEM Inspirational Exhibition invites artists to take inspiration from the PEM exhibition “Our Time on Earth, on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through June 9, 2024.  From the PEM, “Part of PEM’s Climate + Environment Initiative, this traveling exhibition from the Barbican Centre in London celebrates the power of global creativity to transform the conversation around the climate emergency.” 

  • Reception: Friday, April 12, 2024, 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Exhibition Dates: April 13 – May 18, 2024

We challenged our artists to really consider the materials used in pieces created for this exhibit - think about the environmental and climate impacts we make when we create our arts, and ways that we can lift the conversation around climate change and collapse. 

“This exhibition invites us to imagine ways that art, design and science together can help us envision a positive future for our planet,” said Jane Winchell, the Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of PEM’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center.

Local artists submitted artwork for this exhibition that explores the themes of our harmonious coexistence with science, nature, sustainability, and the world around us.

Open Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Salem Arts Association Galleries, 159 Derby Street, Salem MA 01970

Contact with questions.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by the Peabody Essex Museum and The Michael and Ronne Cosel Foundation 

We are honored to announce our esteemed Guest Jurors for this exhibition:

Trevor Smith: Associate Director–Multisensory Experience and Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum

Jane Winchell: Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of PEM's Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center and Curator of the museum's historic Natural History collection

Trevor Smith is Associate Director–Multisensory Experience and Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. He leads an initiative that collaborates with contemporary artists across the breadth of the museum’s activities to illuminate how creativity and cultural change emerge at the intersections of cultures, disciplines, or technologies. 

Since arriving at PEM Smith has commissioned works and curated exhibitions with Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Candice Breitz, Nick Cave, Carlos Garaicoa, Shelagh Keeley, Gu Wenda, Kimsooja, Michael Lin, Charles Sandison, Susan Philipsz, and Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests. In 2018 he curated Playtime, an international exhibition exploring the shifting role of play in contemporary art and culture. Recent projects curated under the banner of PEM’s climate + environment initiative have included Down to the Bone: Ed Koren and Steve Gorman, The Great Animal Orchestra: Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists and Our Time on Earth.. 

Other projects include Spit Spreads Death for the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, the 2011 Singapore Biennial, Wrestle and Martin Creed: Feelings for the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College; Andrea Zittel: Critical Space and Brian Jungen for the New Museum, and The Divine Comedy: Francisco Goya, Buster Keaton, and William Kentridge for the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth International Arts Festival. He has produced nearly a hundred exhibitions and has published widely in exhibition catalogues and journals in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. 

Jane Winchell is the Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of PEM's Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center and Curator of the museum's historic Natural History collection.

She led the multiyear development and creation of the original interdisciplinary Center, which opened in 2003. During her tenure, Winchell has curated over 25 exhibitions for the museum about our evolving relationship with the more-than-human world, ranging from shows about biomimetic design to art made from trash. Her exhibitions and projects regularly feature works by contemporary artists, designers, and scientists. She has also overseen two redesigns of the facilities under her charge, including a reimagined and expanded Art & Nature Center in 2013, with a new space - The Pod - that opened in 2019.

Since 2021 Winchell has been spearheading the institution's new Climate + Environment Initiative that features a series of exhibitions, program offerings and institutional undertakings to address the planetary crisis. Her most recent exhibition projects include Our Time On Earth, Bats!, Climate Action: Inspiring Change, and Down to the Bone: Edward Koren and Stephen Gorman.

Opening Night Reception and Performance:

Friday, April 12, 2024, 6:00-8:00 PM

Musical Performance by Dennis Shafer

Co-Director of the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative (ChagallPAC)

Saxophonist Dennis Shafer co-directs the Chagall Performance Art Collaborative (ChagallPAC) with writer/poet Diana Norma Szokolyai. As a saxophonist, Shafer engages his audiences with animated performances using multimedia, theatre, costumes, and music. His playing has been reviewed as “brilliant” by The Boston Globe, and he is a passionate interdisciplinary artist. Mr. Shafer has performed concertos with orchestra in Boston and New York City, and and his solo album Dennis Shafer and Friends features works he commissioned for saxophone and promoted on a world tour to Paris, Thailand, Hawaii, and California. Shafer holds degrees from The Boston Conservatory, Conservatoire de Boulogne (Paris), Longy of Bard, and Brooklyn College. Shafers’ students have won many awards and performed in notable venues, with performances in Inman Square, Harvard Square, and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The Chagall Performance Art Collaborative (ChagallPAC) is a community of artists committed to collaborating across disciplines and exploring the ways we experience art. We believe art is never the same in any given moment, but rather evolving and continually being shaped by the imaginations of those who come into contact with it.  We create performances that involve audience participation and expand to the newest reaches of contemporary performance art.

As a community of artists, we respect and embrace the differences, rights, and dignity of others, while fostering a sense of common purpose. We honor honesty, respect and integrity in our communication with other artists and with those who come into contact with our art in our gallery space or at our performances. We are all accountable for our personal behavior and have a collective responsibility to nurture a collaborative environment where all feel safe and respected.

ChagallPAC seeks to create an environment of belonging, where diversity, equity and inclusion are valued. ChagallPAC respects and acknowledges the different cultures and communities represented by our artists and our audience. We strive to create programming in an environment that people of all cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds feel included and welcome.


Claudia Paraschiv

Cone of Amplification

Taking the form of an ear trumpet, this sculpture speaks to the importance of listening to each other and also amplifying more-than-human voices that cannot speak for themselves. The specific choice of natural sponge is evocative of how to communicate with one another – as it is a material that is structurally sound while also porous and open.

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

Zenovia Limberakis

Springtime Resurrection Cross

Interpreting the face at the center of the cross as a representation of the sun – the work reminded us of the regenerative power of nature and the seasonal cycle of rebirth. This work reflects the important message in Our Time on Earth about shifting from an egocentric to an ecocentric mindset. 

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

François de Costerd     

Rising Tide

The aerial perspective of this painting reminded us of the 2040–Sensible Zone installation by Territorial Agency in Our Time on Earth, which highlights the vulnerability of coastal regions and river deltas to rising sea levels and the increasing density of industrial, agricultural, and urban constructions in those sensitive environments. 

The painting doesn’t depict development on the landscape directly, but instead invokes it through a figure in the upper right corner who is holding a gas pump spewing money.  

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

CJ Karch

The Tulip

Found natural objects, including a wilted tulip blossom, are deftly transformed into a seemingly animate life form. A reminder of the powerful potential of imagination to envision new realities!  

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

Melissa Gilbert

Chicken Liberation

Like some of the works in Our Time on Earth, the artist is asking us to reconsider our relationship with the animals with which we share this planet, particularly those species we have consumed as food.

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

Terri O'Brien


A complex collage of natural and technological imagery, which grew both more powerful and enigmatic as we spent more time with it. 

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators

Alan Hanscom

Earth or Venus?

Good to see an artist both using and commenting on contemporary technology. By raising the point that even our planetary neighbor is not habitable, it makes evident how vital it is to nurture this remarkable living planet we already inhabit. 

- Trevor Smith & Jane Winchell, PEM Curators




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