Arlette Cepeda's Lifetime Journey Expressed in Art
Staten Island resident's lifetime journey expressed in art
Diane C. Lore/Staten Island Advance By Diane C. Lore/Staten Island Advance
on August 09, 2013 at 9:30 AM, updated August 09, 2013 at 9:31 AM
Arlette Cepeda has been a teaching artist with the Brooklyn Arts Council and the city Department of Education. For several years, she was administrative director of a summer dance camp co-sponsored by the Children's Aid Society and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Foundation. Photo Courtesy of Christopher Mule
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - ST. GEORGE - "Where I Come From" is the title of a visual, autobiographical narrative of Dominican-American artist Arlette Cepeda's life, and it will be on view at the St. George branch of the New York Public Library through Aug. 31.
The artist, a Port Richmond resident, said the exhibit is inspired by personal experiences as a Dominican-American living in New York City and in the Dominican Republic.
Born in Manhattan and raised in the Dominican Republic, Ms. Cepeda was the only child of a single mother.
"I grew up in a bubble where I was the center of the universe," she explained. "I grew up with a great need to express my feelings. I come from a matriarchal family, of love and sacrifice. I come from the constant struggle to be better. The falls and raises are what made me who I am today."
She returned to New York after high school to attend Hunter College from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in studio art.
She has been a teaching artist with the Brooklyn Arts Council and the city Department of Education. For several years, she was administrative director of a summer dance camp co-sponsored by the Children's Aid Society and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Foundation.
Of her artwork, Ms. Cepeda said: "I create art to communicate, to share and to release. In one way or the other, my feelings go through a transformation; they become an object on which I deposit what I am feeling in the moment, and this allows me to continue life's journey."
Arlette Cepeda's autobiographical artwork will be on display through Aug. 31. Photo Courtesy of Arlette Cepeda
"Another quality of my work," she continued, "is that it is narrative. It is also a way to communicate difficult emotions which become more acceptable as artwork. The work speaks on my behalf. It also becomes the means to perpetuate a feeling. I also love finding the details that go unnoticed in everyday things, and somehow do them justice and give the importance they deserve through art.
The library exhibit is a multi-media showing of her acrylic paintings on canvas, prints and photographs. A few of the pieces on display include "Components of Me," a series of self-portraits representing the artist's past, present and future; "From Inside," a canvas based on the Russian nesting dolls, portraying Ms. Cepeda's grandmother, mother and herself, and "My Week," a self-portrait in different hues the artist said she "based on my mood on each day of the week."
There are also a series of photographs taken in the Dominican Republic and Manhattan, as well as black and white photographs the artist took aboard the Staten Island Ferry.
Ms. Cepeda is married to artist Homero Herrera Chez and together they sell their hand-crafted jewelry on Etsy, at www.cloudsonfeet.etsy.com.
She is also a proud mother of three children, all of whom attend borough public schools.
Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo, where she won Honorable Mention in Photography in the Dominican Republic National Biennial exhibit, and also at the Staten Island Museum, St. George, and Wagner College's Spotlight Gallery on the Grymes Hill campus.
Her work will be on exhibit through Aug. 31 during library hours, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library entrance is at 5 Central Ave. The branch is closed on Sunday.
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