By Kendall Heward, news correspondent

Humanity must learn to trust each other, while striving to protect themselves from being hurt. At least, that’s the message two artists sent to the public last Friday at the Know No Truth Gallery on Newbury Street.

The exhibition, titled Trust, explored human emotions that correspond to different stages of expressing confidence in someone. Artists Landon Richmond and Ola Aksan worked together to examine elements of trust through a series of art pieces.

Richmond’s personal loss inspired him to create the exhibition.

“Someone betrayed me,” Richmond said. “But instead of being filled with anger, I was filled with light and love, and trust and freedom.”

One of his paintings, “Trust Repaired,” features swirls of pink and white that fill the canvas and surround a child in the womb.

Over the course of creating this painting, the swirls of pink turned into depictions of female genitalia, according to Richmond. This gave him the idea to place a child in the womb at the bottom of the piece to illustrate that trust can be reborn.

“It’s about the human condition,” Richmond said. “Everyone’s perception of reality is different, but we all have the same emotions. I wanted to tap into those emotions that bond us.”

While live music rang throughout the gallery – courtesy of three disc jockey (DJ) sets – people of ages and backgrounds filled the space, discussing the feeling -filled artwork in front of them.

The two artists milled around, answering questions from the viewers over the hum of the DJs and the chatter from the crowd.

Richmond showcased a series of sketches from his journal along with his paintings. By displaying this intimate work, Richmond said he is “trusting the audience with his most vulnerable thoughts.”

Artist Ola Aksan sought to explore places that give her protection.

“In Holland, where I’m from, the woods are a safe place of refuge – they take care of you,” Aksan said.

Aksan exhibited many paintings of the woods, as well as a self-portrait composed of many logs, coalescing to the likeness of a single tree. The logs were spread out toward the top, showing Aksan’s willingness to trust. As she gets betrayed, the logs grow closer together, illustrating her decision to be more careful in relying on people.

“I like the camaraderie between the two artists – they aren’t competing but working together,” Morgana Ross, gallery visitor, said.

In another of Richmond’s paintings, “Trust Broken,” a woman goes through stages of grief and loss, yet with a glimmer of hope.

“It’s the stages of a soul,” Richmond said. “When you’re broken, you are also healing and learning to trust again.”

Photo Courtesy Landon Richmond, Know No Truth Gallery