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Editor's Note: Cecilia André is one of the Ankhlave artists featured in the Queens Botanical Garden. Read Quail Bell's story about Ankhlave's garden project here.
I make large outdoor installations and use color transparencies to cast colored shadows. These pieces invite viewers to bathe themselves in colored lights, to experience my patterns and designs on their skin or clothing. Animals have bathed in my light pieces, too. As clouds cover the sun, the colored shadows fade then reignite as the sun comes out, bringing curiosity and awareness to the phenomena of daylight and sunshine which surrounds us daily.
In my paintings I have always stretched my own canvases. It makes me aware of the tensioned grid. I stretch and stitch vinyl and linen pieces, creating topographies on my canvases. The gaps invite the wall behind to participate. I use antique and embroidered bedding linens which highlight the contrast between the perfectly executed designs of traditional craftwork and my coarse, impromptu stitching.
The use of bedding linens introduces the element of sleep and unconscious, which is often associated with the feminine arena, as opposed to logic and rationality. Small sculptural pieces of wood or clay reinforce the surrealistic element in my canvases. By incorporating craft produced by anonymous embroiderer women in Brazil and showcasing it within my work, I celebrate (and desecrate) the craftwork of this past era, which once defined the range of a woman's creativity. As I develop my work, I restore a sense of feminine authorship by embedding craft into art.