ARTIST OF THE MONTH
Claudia Bernardi is an internationally known artist who works in the fields of visual arts, human rights and social justice. In her work over the past two decades, she has combined installation, sculpture, painting and printmaking. Additionally, she has focused her art praxis in developing and facilitating community and collaborative art projects working with/and in collaboration with communities that have suffered state terror, violence, forced exiles and who are victims of human rights violations.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bernardi lived through the Argentine military regime that ruled the country from 1976 to 1983. As a result of this system of repression over 30,000 Argentine citizens disappeared. The “desaparecidos” are the victims of the so-called “Dirty War”. She left Argentina in 1979. In 1984, a forensic anthropology team was established in Argentina to supply evidence of violations of human rights carried out against civilian populations. Bernardi participated, as mapmaker, and collaborated with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team in exhumations of mass graves in El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Emerging from this experience, Bernardi recognized that art could be used to educate, elucidate, and articulate the communal memories of survivors of human rights atrocities.
Bernardi is the founder and director of the School of Art and Open Studio of Perquin El Salvador, serving children, youth, adults and the elderly. The approach of this unprecedented art, education and human rights initiative is rooted in the partnership created between art, artists and local institutions and NGOs. The art projects are designed and created in response to the demands, hopes and desires of the members of the community. This model of education and community building through art known now as the “Perquin Model” has been successfully implanted in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Northern Ireland and Argentina. For the last five years, Bernardi has been working with unaccompanied, undocumented, Central American migrant minors, currently detained in maximum security facilities in the United States.
On top of her social impact through the world of art, Bernardi has an incredible academic record. In 2004, Bernardi was awarded the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa by the College of Wooster, Ohio. Also, she has 2 Masters of Fine Arts (MFA), one from the National Institute of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires the other one from the University of California at Berkeley. She was a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence from 1990-1993 and 1994-1995 creating and directing art projects with political refugees and survivors of torture from Latin America.
Her work has been internationally exhibited in prestigious venues such as The International World Peace Center in Hiroshima, The Centre for Building Peace in Northern Ireland, The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, The University of Haifa, Israel, amongst others.
Currently, Bernardi is a Professor of Community Arts, Diversity Studies, Critical Studies and has taught in the Graduate Program of Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. If you want to learn more about Claudia and her work, please refer to the following links: