Gina (Gigi) Cestaro
Gigi/Gina Cestaro is a multi-media artist, facilitator of creative experiences, art educator, and Expressive Arts therapist. Gigi has extensive experience developing programming and curriculum, as well as facilitating art-based groups and workshops. Gigi’s facilitation approach is based on collaboration, and empowerment within a strengths-based intersectional and culturally competent framework. She’s had the opportunity to successfully work with individuals of diverse cultures, abilities, identities, & socioeconomic classes.
Gigi has had the privilege of collaborating with The Land With No Name as an artist and facilitator for many years. The natural environment of The Land consistently acted as a crucible, and collaborator in her personal and professional development. The Land inspired her to experiment, push boundaries and to continually re-connect with herself on a deep level. Gigi’s current passion project is the development of the Outside Voice A.R.T. Space (A.R.T. = Access, Release, Transform) offering unique, collaborative, community-based experiential projects integrating the fine arts, the expressive arts therapies and contemplative psychotherapy.
Correspondence Between Sisters
Correspondence Between Sisters is a response to an experience I had shortly after my sister’s death in 1999. My sister and I were extremely close. The first days and weeks after she died were the most difficult of my life. During an intense period of grief I found myself walking on the beach. It was winter on Cape Cod. I was alone with the northeast Atlantic wildly pounding the shoreline, the wind whipping around me. The sky bright and clear, the air ice-cold I could see every exhaled breath. After walking for some time I lay down on the sand with my head against a driftwood log and let myself sob and feel the intense pain of loss. Laying there looking up at the sky, the clouds started to form and stretch and gather above me. As they continued to gather, I began to see the clouds as my sister’s hair stretched out across the huge expanse of the sky. There was a wonderful freedom in the way that “her hair” was moving and the way that it was lit by the sun. It was in that moment that I felt that my sister could no longer “fit” on this earth, in this corporeal existence. Since that day Annie has communicated with me in a variety of different ways, some easy to understand, others more abstract, but the most common way is through the sky with all its varying degrees of light and activity.
This piece was a collaborative project with Annie; she brings the sky to me, and the stone is my contribution. In 2005, Correspondence Between Sisters was created for a gallery setting with a video of clouds moving across the sky projected onto the stone and onto the original wood base. This sculpture was never meant to be indoors, I needed the live sky, and the weather to activate its full meaning. In 2013, Ted and I worked together to reconstruct the base and replace the wood with mirror-polish stainless steel; and then to find its long-term home on the Land. Unfortunately, in 2016, the alabaster succumbed to the elements and, damaged beyond repair, had to be removed from the base. Despite being heart-broken over the loss of the stone, I eventually came to understand that the sculpture had come full-circle. This piece began with me looking up at the sky seeking connection. Today, all that is left from the original piece is a rectangle of sky floating eighteen inches from the ground. Free of any artifice, free even of its relationship to my sister and me, the sky now invites the viewer to seek their own connection, and perhaps their own collaboration with it.
House Diptych: shred and knit
During my 2012 residency at the Land, I worked on a series of performative studies inspired by my performative installations titled, House Diptych: shred & knit. The studies were an integral part of the process of developing a third performative installation, Leaving the House Behind. From early childhood houses have appeared in the metaphors of my dreams as stand-ins for my body/identity. A reoccurring secondary theme was the search for my own house. Often in the dreams I revisited houses, in which I had lived, in a desperate attempt to make them over and to re-inhabit them. The ritual and meditative work that I experienced in House Diptych guided me into a state of readiness to embrace the task of deconstructing the metaphor of the home/fixed identity altogether.
The bronze pods were part of a series of explorations that eventually became the give-away collection of small pods titled, Detritus, in which I explore the emotional impact of completing menopause in my early thirties. The bronze seedpods are from the species called Australian bottle tree (Brachychiton populneus), a large evergreen shade tree that can reach up to 60 feet in height.