During a Monday assembly, artist Rebecca Kamen spoke to all students about how she found a way to merge her seemingly opposite passions, allowing her to bring science to life through art. Kamen uses art as a way to enhance people’s understanding of scientific principles. She makes often invisible parts of science visible through her sculptures and collaborations with those in other media, such as music.
“It’s really wonderful when you take something that most people don’t think is accessible, like the Periodic Table… and you turn it into a dynamic experience for audiences,” said Kamen. She created a sculpture installation of the first 83 elements of the Periodic Table and collaborated with a musician, so people could experience it by walking through it, meditating on it, and hearing it.
She discussed several of her recent projects, including STRATA with MLC School in Sydney, Australia. There, Kamen said, she was particularly inspired by the aboriginal people and their history of using art to express the intersection of science and spirituality. With that in mind STRATA’s objective was formed: to build bridges of understanding between art, science, and spirituality through collaboration. At MLC, the girls created a series of collographs, which are prints created from found objects; in this case, the students found objects from the earth. Kamen plans to expand STRATA to other schools.
After the talk, students asked Kamen about her inspiration, materials, and work. Girls interested in both art and science were especially engaged by Kamen’s work. Several students asked for advice for those who enjoy both disciplines:
“May you never stop dreaming, and may your dreams continue to transform the world,” Kamen said.
Sponsored by the St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center, Kamen’s talk was a part of Visitation’s Women Who Make A Difference Speaker Series. Kamen is a professor emeritus of art at Northern Virginia Community College and collaborates and exhibits nationally and internationally