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MFA Ceramic Art

Katla Rúnarsdóttir


The presence of a shrimp has followed me throughout my practice. I have never really understood why. I perceive shrimp to be exposed and vulnerable from their dull colour and slimy texture and, at first, I thought the relation to them was this vulnerability. However, recently I found out that all my grandparents, who come from the small fishing village Ísafjörður in Iceland, all worked in the shrimp industry. This new familial connection reignited my fascination for shrimp. It is not only about their aesthetics, but it has also become a symbol of my heritage and identity. After discussing shrimp with my grandfather, I have come to the conclusion that the shrimp could be described as our godmother. The title CARE-KER refers to the care that is the core of this project. The Icelandic word “ker” means vessel and is pronounced the same way as care. 

My exam work consists of seven ceramic sculptures, each representing a different family member. My grandfather the Sausage that is running around the table, stuck inside the casserole pot, with a messy apron. Grandmother is the Cucumber, laying on the table with a glass of wine in her hand. The Potato, my mother, sitting patiently at the table taking care of everyone’s needs, wearing her favourite blue cardigan. The Shrimp represents all three sons in laws. Just whistling waiting for the food to be served, wearing horrible smelly wool socks. The other three sculptures sitting at the table are smaller and represent us grandchildren, two smaller sausages and one olive. The table is decorated with old spotty doilies laying on a yellow tablecloth. On the table are glasses, they have had so much fun throughout the years that they are starting to deform and melt.