Sonja Czekalski

MFA ’21 Fine Arts Low-Residency

My work is a response to my experience as a woman. I am inspired by the ancestral lineage of my maternal bloodline. Fed by the physical and spiritual connections to feminine archetypes and Mother Earth, I use my individual narrative to connect with the larger collective of women’s stories. My work explores the dichotomies and contradictions between my own body, inter and intra relationships, and gender roles within Western society. I use traditional mediums of women’s craft to closely examine my personal narrative within these materials while paying homage to my predecessors. I also work with Mother Nature’s materials to draw connections between the organic substances that create our bodies, yarn, and fabric. Interweaving the physical and metaphorical values of women’s craft and nature, I analyze the representation of the feminine figure. I want the viewer to explore the female figure through an empathetic gaze. By creating pieces that are simultaneously quiet and confrontational, growing and decaying, attractive and repulsive, I give voice to the raw experiences of womanhood. I invite the viewer to question the validity of the stereotyped feminine; to experience and respond to the embarrassment, shame, confusion, richness, and power of female sexuality, fertility, social expectation, and responsibility. Ultimately though my practice provides more questions and contradictions about feminism than answers, it honors the authentic lives and stories of each and every woman.

Sonja Czekalski is a Rhode Island based artist and 2021 MFA Candidate in Interdisciplinary Art at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA. She is currently the Gallery Director of the historic Hera Gallery in Wakefield, RI. Sonja has participated in a number of group shows around New England. She is an artist-member at Hera Gallery in Wakefield, Rhode Island, a member of the North American Handpapermakers, and a contributor to Witches Magazine.