No 7 - Elena Mahno
BY Elena Mahno
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Subject Matter: Female form, pinafore. Sculpture clay, white stoneware slip, satin glaze. 6 x 7 inches.
The new series from ceramic artist Elena Mahno is intimately nostalgic — hearkening back to memories of an identity left behind, and at the same time future-facing, reflecting identities shape-shifting towards a new self. The series was born from a sense of déjà vu the artist experienced while living through the collective loss of the last few years. Realizing these feelings were similar to those she’d experienced during her immigration from Moldova decades earlier, she dug into symbology to create these works. Reflecting on how monumental life events leave a wake of life paths unlived, Mahno memorialized these unlived identities through the abstraction of silhouettes, in particular, the pinafore. For the Eastern European diaspora, the pinafore carries the nostalgia of girls’ school uniforms, symbolic of public responsibility. Mahno felt this symbol gained relevance in 2020 as she witnessed women parting with 'alternative selves' to step up at work, home, and in their communities. Across each piece, she strives to bridge the past and the present, the East and the West, beauty and utility.
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