Catalina Pastrana Acosta

I am a Colombian fiber artist researching the correlation between hormones and mood fluctuations in life-creating bodies. My artwork uses my experience and research to shed light on the harmful cultural stereotypes and lack of education that create a violent environment for human bodies. With my research and artistic practice, I hope to enhance the beauty of the infradian rhythm body fluctuations, and empower humans through the beauty of truly knowing ourselves. 

I use fibers, thread, and paint to create organic figures in my intimate portraits. Growing up in Colombia, many women and I were taught to embroider as a domestic activity. In the past, needlework was used as a symbol of female obedience. I use embroidery to honor the women who raised me and construct and heal, stitch-by-stitch, narratives about cyclical bodies. This work requires focus and engagement of the whole body. One hand up, one hand down, threading the canvas with fibers to create forms. 

Growing up in a strongly traditional country, I felt constrained. I drag paint to experience the unpredictability of the material movements. Dragging gives me joy and a sense of freedom. I enjoy how the paint itself decides to overlap, combine, or vanish on the canvas. I use the language of thread as the body cells to create blood, muscles, skin, and organs. I associate colors with hormones and use stitches as synonyms for the body. Overlaying these materials, I hope to decode and raise awareness about the importance of recognizing the hormonal cyclic system.

Catalina Pestrana received her  MFA at SMFA at Tufts University, a BFA in fashion design at the University Colegiatura Colombiana in Medellin, Colombia, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in studio art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.