Presence Letters

Letters to Elmhurst Art Museum from Visitors of PRESENCE, and Polarity


"I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel. I am absolutely speechless. This is without a doubt THE BEST ART EXHIBIT THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I say that in all caps because to the core of my being I know that it is true. I have been to many museums in Cairo, Paris, Bogota, London, Berlin, Santa Fe, L.A., Rome, Beijing, Washington D.C., Manila, Amman, Houston, Jerusalem, and this is the cream of the crop. Your pieces took me back to my childhood, and childlike perception of the world. As I was when I was a child I am filled with wonder. Thank you for making wonder a little more tangible." 

D. Moore


"Amazing art by an amazing artist. I have told everyone to make sure to take time to see it. It is an exquisitely and disorientingly beautiful experience of light, self, and otherness. I don't have words. Thank you."

W. Harrison


"I just had the most incredible journey into "Presence" realizing the potential of myself, so powerful and expansive. Thank you David Wallace Haskins for the incredible tour.

I've never experienced artwork like this... that invokes such serious shifts in perception.

I was brought back to the feelings of some of my most treasured moments of Self-realization, or Self-liberation, or.. whatever you want to call it... I didn't know it was possible to reenact such untouchable Presence... Can't wait to see all the genius ideas David has in store! It was seriously so incredible."

Megan C.


"At first when I encountered Time Mirror, I didn't like myself. I looked awkward and gangly. I moved away from the looking. 

Then, when my friends and I came back later, we started talking about it. 

My good friend pointed out, "D, this is who you are. You are a very expressive person who is goofy. You are probably 10 times more expressive than anyone I know." She sometimes exaggerates, but her statement did shed light on my goofiness and ultra-expressiveness. 

And it's not like I don't already know this. But it's one thing to know it in your head, and quite another to really know it - in your body, heart, head, whatever. 

As I saw myself respond to my friends in conversation with my whole body doing goofy moves (and these are entirely involuntary; they just happen as I talk and respond), I was startled to see what everyone else can see. We kept talking and watching Time Mirror

The pivotal moment came when my dear friend said to me, "D, THIS [pointing to me in the Time Mirror] is the D I love."

“All of a sudden, I was able to accept myself and celebrate who I am. And then I started crying.”

I still looked gangly, but maybe not as awkward, and very happy and goofy and kind. 

And all that happening during a time when I've not being wearing make-up. I've been on a journey towards self-acceptance of the raw me. The original face I've been given. And now accepting what I guess everyone else sees! Haha. It's so weird.

My perspective of myself is often veiled by a screen of ignorance, as I believe that others see a self I think I'm projecting. I really can't control who I am or the personality I have been given. And isn't it beautiful that dear friends receive my person, and celebrate it? What a gift. 

Thank you, Mr. Haskins, for your work, for your celebration of people, and for creating art that gently takes down the veils. I really appreciate it." 

D. K.

“Although all of the work was fabulous, I must admit Time Mirror was my favorite. As I walked towards the camera I was first confused on who those people were projected on the wall. As I realized it was me who was being projected on the screen, I stepped closer and closer. . . I laughed with my boyfriend and I waited to see me, in the video, do the same.

Still, nothing could have prepared me for what happened soon after.  I saw myself in third person.

I was so overwhelmed with confusion and emotions of seeing me as a completely separate person then with the eyes that were viewing her. She laughed and she moved so carefully. Suddenly, I felt my eyes water with excitement and emotions I had never experienced before.

For the first time, in my entire life, I saw myself as a real person.

I saw myself from someone else’s eyes. She looked so happy and silly. As I saw her cry, I cried even more because for once I cared about her as if she was a regular human being.

            Every day that I’ve been alive, I have seen myself in mirrors, videos, or pictures. Yet, for some reason experiencing Time Mirror was completely different. In all honesty, I felt like it was a life changing experience to see myself like that. As the artist, soon explained to me what the piece was about, it all made perfect sense. Our lives are surrounded with picture perfect displays of who we want to be, or how we want others to see us; whether it is through selfies or Facebook, we create this image of ourselves. I got so used to the Camila I thought I was, or wanted others to think I was, that I forgot who I truly am, and that’s exactly what Time Mirror brought back.

C. P.