Artist: Simone Kestelman
My career in visual arts began when I was seven when I started working with ceramics where I grew up in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In pursuit of my path as an artist, over the years I’ve added new skills to my repertoire, including glasswork and photography. I use my 30 years of experience with ceramics to confront the challenges of working with glass to create socially conscious collections of multimedia pieces. My precise hands-on glass process uses techniques such as casting, fusing, kiln forming and a variety of finishing techniques.
Growing up in a large city in one of the largest developing nations, I became acutely aware of Brazil’s social issues from a young age. All my life, I’ve seen Brazil’s beauty as well as its dark side. I see marvelous landscapes, architecture, soulful music, and delicious food in the shadow of violence and extreme socio-economic inequality, which still plague Brazilian society.
Through my education and experiences, including my academic studies in economics, I have developed a keen lens through which I am able to reflect on important social issues and comment on them through my work. The socio-economic dimension at the heart of Brazil’s problems informed my developing art, which I infused with an immediate and human understanding of the impact of injustice, inequality and abuse.
I strive to make beautiful, yet profound art. To achieve that, I step beyond traditional imagery and sculpture. I often use text to help integrate image and concept, and interactive elements to motivate viewers, especially children and the sense-impaired, to respond and express themselves.
I have attracted international acclaim by using my art to spread awareness on issues of violence against women and children, and to express the vulnerability that women often feel from the time they are young girls.
My work aims to raise awareness of the pain inflicted by the commodification of women from a young age something that is around the world in a variety of ways. My intention is to drive more people to think and act to promote the protection of women and children in vulnerable situations.
Art enables children to deal positively with their emotions — a crucial step in healing and breaking the cycle of violence.
I will continue to produce work that addresses the disabled and the plight of females who are victims of violence such as sex trafficking, and that challenges societies around the world to take action.