Harness the Sun - Celebrating 100 Years of Corita Kent

Harness the Sun - Celebrating 100 Years of Corita Kent

Born Frances Kent (20 November 1918) in Fort Dodge, Iowa and growing up in Los Angeles, Sister Corita Kent was an iconoclastic artist, activist, catholic nun and art educator. Her inexhaustible struggle for social justice was communicated through her revolutionary art and public processions in the streets of Hollywood, California, where she studied and later taught at the Immaculate Heart Community College, Los Angeles.

Her extraordinary life and prolific output saw her create over 800 different silkscreen artworks, author and design books, produce films, orchestrate happenings and deliver countless commissions for public artworks and advertising campaigns including a mural for the Vatican Pavillon at the 1964-65 World Fair in New York.

Whilst the importance of the Pop Art movement grew, the contribution of female artists was often overlooked. Even in light of such challenges, Corita Kent's impact and influence were great and in 1966 she was pronounced one of the "Women of the Year" in the Los Angeles Times and appeared on the cover of Newsweek the year after. Her teaching methods, furious work ethic and openness to other cultures and methodology are perhaps one of her most profound endowments to contemporary pedagogy. She wrote numerous books and instruction manuals explaining her methodology, celebrations, beliefs and ethics alongside illustrating many volumes of poetry and literature. Especially interesting were her collaborations with the Brothers Berrigan, revolutionary Jesuit Priests that in 1968 and 1969 were wanted and finally incarcerated by the FBI for political protests at which they regularly napalmed US Army draft records.

Corita Kent's positive and celebratory spirit ran through every part of her life. Her artistic output, driven by her passion, an intolerance of injustice and an absolute belief in the divine spirit, created a legacy that has influenced pop-art, education, contemporary typography, alternative religion, the potential of protest, concepts of collaboration, counter-culture positions, design modules and the way we think about public and private commissions.

This exhibition coincides with a host of celebrations organised by the Corita Art Centre in Los Angeles as well as her inclusion in À Cris Ouvert - Biennale de Rennes and her living solo exhibition titled "We Have No Art" at CAC Passerelle, Brest.

Harness the Sun - Celebrating 100 Years of Corita Kent

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