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Patriotic proxies: Descendants of founding fathers recreate historic artwork for Williamsburg mural

Strike a pose: Painter Dmitry Pankov was among the several artists Ancestry.com commissioned to create a contemporary interpretation of John Trumbull’s painting, “Declaration of Independence,” with the founding fathers’ descendants as its focus.
for Brooklyn Paper
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They repainted history!

Artists recreated a historic painting depicting politicians with the Declaration of Independence by decorating a wall in Williamsburg with a mural that portrays the pols’ descendants in a similar setting, and being part of the project was a no-brainer, according to a ninth-generation progeny of Thomas Jefferson portrayed in the artwork.

“I couldn’t pass up on such an opportunity,” said Shannon LaNier, a descendant of Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings who lives in the Bronx and is African American. “It’s time we truly see each other as equals, whatever our ethnicity.”

The mural at 22 N. 15th St. near N. 14th Street and Kent Avenue is inspired by “Declaration of Independen­ce,” by American artist John Trumbull, which portrays founding fathers who include Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams presenting a draft of the declaration to Congress.

The original work of art has hung inside the United States Capitol Rotunda since 1826.

Its modern-day counterpart was commissioned by Ancestry.com, a company that provies genealogy services, to showcase how different the homogenous group of white founders are from their multi-ethnic progeny, said a company rep.

“What you see is a surprising and powerful look at how different the United States is today,” said Cathleen Hua.

“These descendants come from all walks of life, from African American and Hispanic to Filipino and Native American.”

Both male and female descendents are depicted in the mural, which was completed on July 3, in time to be viewed as Fourth of July fireworks lit the sky, and will be up through July 16, according to Hua.

Updated 5:07 pm, July 12, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Patrick Lee from Rural central Missouri says:
I applaud recognizing the diversity America represents!
No one, however, in the painting or Ancestry.com's commercial can prove he/she is a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. That proof does not exist, and Ancestry.com knows it. Or should.
July 7, 10:21 am

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