Tamara Kostianovsky is a New York-based Latinx artist whose installation artworks address the problems of a consumer culture, environment and even violence. Her sculptures are created using discarded clothing often sourced from her own closet. Each piece, whether it is from her “Tree Carcases” or “Meats” series, depicts a part of nature that is now dead and decaying. I am particularly drawn to Kostianovsky’s use of such soft, floral material to depict these very difficult subjects. Doing so makes her work easier to look at and examine as a metaphor for violence, without containing overt violent imagery. By using discarded clothing, she is also able to tie in her views on our consumerist culture and its effects on the environment.
The use of these metaphors is why I would advocate for sharing her work with children. By presenting these difficult subjects in this very approachable way, Kostianovsky is building a bridge for what can be very impactful conversations. When asked about her work, some children may notice how the choice of fabrics and the subject matter differ. Others may immediately infer that the artist is making a comment about environmental issues of deforestation or the effects of large cattle farming operations on the climate. Others may naturally understand the link between using discarded clothing and these issues. Kostianovsky’s work encourages discussion and in doing so, we as facilitators can expand on our children’s views of art and the world.
All work courtesy of Tamara Kostianovsky via her website.
Discussion for Kids
In discussing Kostianovsky’s work with children, keep the questions open-ended. Ask “What do you see here?” and see what answers are shared with you! Older children will appreciate knowing more about the materials and meaning behind the work. Younger children may even infer some of these details on their own! Keep the discussion relaxed and encourage all answers.
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