…what do you conclude from all of this? (detail)
Digital c-prints, wood, plexi glass
November, 1982: Samantha Smith, a ten-year old schoolgirl from a small town in Maine, wrote a letter to Soviet Leader Yuri Andropov asking him how he was going to ‘help not have a war’ with the United States. When Andropov responded personally, Smith became an overnight media sensation and an ambassador of goodwill between the US and USSR, until a plane crash took her life in 1985.
Artist Becca Albee grew up not far away from Samantha Smith’s hometown, and was a young girl when Smith rose to stardom. In this self-portrait, Albee stands next to a statue memorializing Smith. The photo is displayed in the gallery next to a display case containing a different kind of memorial – an image of pens, paper, and envelopes that seem to be waiting for a letter-writer to arrive. The title is drawn from a question that Ted Koppel asked Smith during an appearance on ABC Nightline in 1983: ‘Well, now that you’ve gone through this experience… now that you’ve completed it, what do you conclude from all of this?’