“With her body hidden in the shadows and her arms protectively wrapping herself,
Celestina shows us that she has a mysterious and enigmatic depth that only few would be
privileged to see. One of Celestina’s challenges in life has been to communicate the
richness of this hidden and most vulnerable aspect of herself, even to those closest to her.
When she was a child her parents had volatile fights and she observed the chaos that
would ensue if one showed their emotions. Because of this she felt that in difficult
situations it would be better to hide her feelings from the world and never felt like she
had a constructive way to share the most fragile parts of herself. Now she experiences
her inner world as something that cannot adequately be expressed with regular human
language and signs, as it is a world too weird, too rich, and too emotionally complicated
to be reduced to words invented by other people. This is symbolized by the way her hand
wraps across her face and shields her mouth, letting the viewer know that they will not
know her through her words alone. But other parts of the painting tell us that there may
be another way to know her.
The viewer’s gaze is drawn above her hand to her eyes, one sheltered by darkness and the other piecing us with an inquisitive intensity. Through learning to acknowledge the difficulties in expressing herself to others, Celestina has learnt to acknowledge other people’s depths and see in them what they may find difficult to express. Through her own weakness, Celestina has developed the strength of sensitivity and attentiveness when listening to others. She has learnt to acknowledge there is always something more behind the words people use and that our truest connections can never be completely understood.
Through recognizing the complexities in showing her true side to others, Celestina has in her adult life explored different ways of expressing the textures of her inner life in a way that relates to others. She is now a circus artist who explores non-conventional movements as a way to convey the inexpressibility of feelings such as alienation, loss, love, mechanical repetition and ecstatic elation in her life and the modern world.
The symbol behind Celestina is one for communication, and with her layered on top of this symbol, the picture as a whole represents the multifaceted dimensions of communication and the sensitivity that authentic communication requires especially in a life given over to love, to passions, and a zeal to breath the magical essence of existence itself.” – SW