I am currently exploring ways to express the spiritual essence of the space between life and death afterlife. As an artist I have always been interested in nature and animals, however birds have an intense personal connection to me. Of personal interest is the common childhood hobby of folding paper into abstract and stylized forms. This inspiration for the work comes from traditional origami, a technique I will modify through ceramic sculpture. Some of my previous works are also related to origami. I used plaster slabs to make models and molds. I find that the stylization of folding paper in that work has influenced the way I perceive and render clay, my current investigation. In continuation of that research, I will use plaster as a material to create sheets, models, molds, and perhaps finished Objects.
I will focus on installation. My thesis will concentrate on how site-specific space and placement can inspire an interactive engagement with viewers. Creating sculpture through installation allows me to include shadow and its aesthetic implications. I will also focus on color and light. What are shadows? Can we literally see them or can we also feel them? Do they have colors? How do shadows differ from reflection? The form of the parts and their relationship to the whole creates meaningful contrast.
In that context, I am influenced by nature, religion and dreams. I admire nature because it is highly organized and think it is a logical reference for space and placement. Nearly all religions have a belief system about the afterlife. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, which means people are reborn as animals, as humans, or as plants, depending on how they lived their life. While I am Muslim, and follow a different afterlife belief system, I enjoy dreaming of my father, who passed away when I was two. I always dream he is flying around me like a bird and still alive, reincarnated in animal form. I believe he is my shadow and that someday I will meet him and I can hug him really tightly.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Ceramic sculpture--Themes, motives; Ceramic sculpture--Technique; Birds in art; Reincarnation in art; Origami--Pictorial works
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Okdem Ates, Yeliz, "Dilemma" (2016). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus