The summer 2015 I was one of the three artists invited to take part in an exhibit focused on the creative process rather than the final work, at the Kalmar Museum of Art. I had the chance to work on monumental clay sculptures for three months. This exhibit closed with the building of a kiln in the city park where the museum is located and the burning of one of my sculptures. Hundreds of people were present when we opened the kiln, and it became the most important event of the summer.
These were three months of intensive work. In many ways, I can compare them with an ultra marathon, in which teachers, practitioners, artists, gallery owners, ceramicists, kids and adults became part of the process.
During this time I answered all sorts of questions about what it is like to work with clay, turning it into ceramics, how demanding it is and the risk involved in every step of the process. Visitors had the chance to experience first-hand how soft and malleable clay seems to be– and how easy it cracks, collapses and loses its shape throughout the entire process.
While engaged in the dialogue with visitors, I made three monumental sculptures that put my ability as a ceramist to the test. The sculptures are inspired in the ancient goddesses of fertility, particularly the Venus of Willendorf.
The kiln, which now looks more like a chapel or temple with the sculpture of Venus inside, is still in the city park. To build it, we used red-clay bricks from China that we recycled from previous construction projects in Kalmar.
Now that I have experienced and survived these three months, I feel extremely passionate about continuing my work with monumental sculpture.
My Venuses will become symbolic fetishes in my search for freedom as a human being. Being an artist, a woman, and an immigrant demands liberating myself from phenomena and patterns that need to be challenged. Shaping these gigantic female bodies meant diving into my fears and doubts.
Translator: Anabel Gómez