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‘Refuse Reimaged’

Photographic artist Gina Dabrowski has a soft spot for trash – big piles of it. When she travels, her fascination leads her to the local dump or transfer station. This is where she does some of her finest work. Evidence awaits viewers of her Central Lakes College Gallery exhibit, “Refuse Reimaged,” Nov. 9 – Dec. 14 in Brainerd. The exhibit includes portraits from the Crow Wing County Landfill. From all angles and exploring many types of trash and recycled materials, the exhibit includes people encountered at the site with assorted contexts for their presence. Some of them are scavengers like she once was. “As a child my dad took me to the dumps,” she said, “and we would help him scavenge. I remember pulling things out at the age of five, looking for metal he could sell. My dad made extra money for the family that way.” Dabrowski knows that such scavenging is now illegal here. But in Mexico she encountered many of what she calls “independent contractors.” Her images also show the people who work in landfills. Not touting a political agenda, she simply wants to bring the landfills and the people who work in them to the public conscience in a way they might not now be. The gallery at CLC is open during regular college hours and is free for the public. It is located across from the Jon Hassler Library.

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