On the morning of June 30, 2022, I was consumed with righteous anger. This creative fury moved me first to write a poem, and then to begin a figurative sculpture that would become the basis for a new body of work. I chose the human rib cage for its protective and restrictive properties. Exposed ribs especially call to mind the vulnerabilities all people have in common.
These ceramic works are made of reclaim clay, which has a naturally brown color. Slabs of clay form the overall structure of the Rib Cage piece, as well as the shoulder blades. I pulled a variety of handles by-hand to form the individual ribs, collar bones, and spinal column, pressing them into place on top of the slabs. And then I carved or cut away from the slabs to achieve additional variations of depth and texture between the ribs and elsewhere. The Rib Cage Bells are roughly modeled to be miniatures of this larger sculpture. Ribs on the bells are delineated simply by carving or cutting away the spaces between them, and occasionally my carving tool pierced all the way through. While the large Rib Cage piece has my poem from that first day inscribed on its interior, each of the bells has been fit with a tiny anatomical heart. Gently shaking them causes their hearts to beat against their insides – which makes them ring!
There will be more sculptures like this in the future. I intend for this body of work to make overt reference to the words/phrases: ‘brown bodies’, ‘cage’, ‘reclaim’, ‘alarm bells’, ‘liberty bell’, and ‘heartbeat bills’. I also hope to inspire others, far and wide, to make their own alarm/liberty bells — may the ringing of these bells call attention to our collective grief and fury as we seek to reclaim bodily autonomy and reproductive rights for ALL who have the capacity for pregnancy!
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Nina Caporale was born in Cincinnati Ohio, the middle child of five sisters. Attracted to three-dimensional media from a very young age, she began exhibiting and selling her artwork in junior high and high school. Nina’s spoken word performances garnered her some notoriety as a young adult, for which she was recognized as “Best Rebel Artist” by a CityBeat Cincinnati readers’ poll two years in a row. She briefly studied Scenic Design (for the theater) and related Performance Arts before enrolling in art school. She earned her BFA in Three Dimensional Media at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design Art Architecture and Planning (DAAP), and her MFA in Sculpture and Expanded Practice at Ohio University’s School of Art + Design.
The family home was lost to foreclosure in 2004, the same year she finished her BFA. And she’s been employed in and out of information technology and computer-aided design roles since 2008, the year she completed her MFA. Nina has been a member of Communities United For Action (CUFA) since 2014. She experienced COVID in 2020, and has been adapting to life with Long-COVID or Post COVID Syndrome ever since. Nina aspires to be a homeowner, someday. She and her partner are now Studio Members at Core Clay Studio.
© Nina Caporale