Simone Kestelman is a sculptor and multi-media artist working in glass, ceramics, and photography. Her work speaks to archetypal themes of life, death, love, violence, and ambition. Her visual language is universal, an emotive vehicle for all that cannot be articulated through words. Striking juxtapositions abound in the sculptures: a ceramic red balloon, a glass swing encasing barbed wire, a foot stool covered in razor blades. Kestelman’s visceral material interventions upon everyday objects project a quiet urgency regarding issues of sexual violence, particularly against women and children.
Kestelman began working in ceramics at the age of seven in her hometown of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From a young age, she became acutely aware of Brazil’s social issues, set against a lush cultural backdrop of art, soulful music and vibrant geography. Yet, currents of violence and extreme socio-economic inequality flow beneath the surface.
Simone Kestelman received a BA from the University Gama Filho, Rio de Janeiro, where she studied economics. This subject serves as the lens through which Kestelman interrogates the realities of injustice, inequality, and violence in the world. In 2013, she was awarded the International Caucus/UN Program Honor Roll. She has received praise for works such as Cantigas, Daddy has gone to the fields, Mommy has gone to work), Undesired and Marching Soldiers, which spread awareness of issues of violence against women and children.
Kestelman sees her sculpture as snapshots of the mind and soul at a particular point in time. Her work is humanist. Often relating to the body, or the absence of the body, the ceramic, metal and glass works grapple with global issues that spark strong emotions. Her newest work is a large-scale installation in glass speaks generally to the specter of mortality, and specifically with the legacy of the Holocaust.
Kestelman has exhibited her work internationally, in solo exhibitions at Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, Suny Old Westbury Long Island, NY; President’s Gallery John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY; A Hebraica, Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil; Arthur M. Berger Gallery at Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY; Mary's College Museum of Art, Morago, CA; Caelum Gallery, NY; Rockland Center for the Arts, Nyack, NY. She has been included in museum shows at Museu Brasileiro da Escultura e Ecologia, São Paulo, Brazil; the Thessaloniki Contemporary Museum, Thessaloniki, Greece; the Goethe Institute, Greece, the Katonah Museum of Art, New York, NY and Edward Hopper House Museum, Nyack, NY and has been cited in The Brooklyn Rail, Nyack News & Views, and Wag Magazine. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Newark Museum of Art, as well as private collections in Brazil, the United States and Europe. Simone lives and works in Westchester County, New York.