I believe that art should convey a message whether it is through symbolism or just blatant images. At first, my art conveyed messages about my internal struggles. However, now I feel I should also show the struggles of other members of society. While I didn’t view myself as being political or voicing political views, there does come a time in your life when you have to speak out. If you pay attention to current events and trends, you know that there are injustices committed on all levels of society, every day. I decided that my art will be a voice used to right wrongs in the two domains that I identify with – being Black and being a woman.
Recently, I have been exploring the issue of women’s rights. My mixed-media pieces help to show the evolution of the women’s rights movement from a time in which we were not encouraged to speak up for ourselves and how, despite the strides we have made in the movement, we are running the risk of going back in time instead of forward. The movement reminds us that we can go beyond the need for a man’s approval in relationships, the workplace, and in the world. It also empowers us to recognize that we can make critical decisions concerning our bodies, and our lives, and in shaping our world.
Printmaking is my preferred concentration. Most of my art may have one or many printmaking techniques within it. It is an art form that incorporates all that I appreciate about art. I can draw, paint, and carve to create various works of art. I find the process to be fulfilling creating the by-product and the finished product. I can couple the printmaking process with a mixture of media to complete the evolution of my art. With this printmaking/mixed media technique, I use my art as an activist’s platform to educate and inform the public about how political policies affect Blacks and women.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kathleen Celestin should have been a third-grade dropout. Nothing school related was appealing to her. Without realizing it, her Art teacher, Ms. Kaufman convinced her to stay in school, through her love of art.
Kathleen Celestin was born in Brooklyn, New York, however, she has lived most of her life in Nassau County, New York. She learned some of her art skills from her brother but attributes most of her skills, interest, and love of art to her Elementary school Art teacher, Ms. Kaufman.
While loving to create art, Kathleen did not choose the direct fine arts route in college, but she did take studio art courses whenever she could. She became an Elementary school teacher in a quest to help her students love school, but soon remembered that art was the key to her success at that age. In an attempt to share the love of art that Ms. Kaufman instilled in her, she went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Art Education.
While pursuing this degree, she discovered her love for printmaking. After her studies, she knew that she would return to school to study all she could about this art form. Recently, she was able to do so, when she received her MFA from Long Island University with a concentration in printmaking.
Currently, she is an Art educator at the Stewart Manor and Covert Avenue Schools in the Elmont School District.
© Kathleen Celestin