Kristi Rivera, an art education graduate student in the School of Education and a Port Washington middle school teacher, will open an exhibition of her work entitled Memento Vivre (Remember to Live) on Thursday, February 8 at 4PM in the Hagedorn Hall Café, South Campus.
“My work incorporates the concept of memento mori as a contemporary juxtaposition of life and death,” said Rivera, who was inspired by still-life Dutch Golden Age painters Pieter Claesz and Willem Claeszoon Heda, as well as contemporary artist Audrey Flack.
Memento mori—the awareness and symbolic reminders of mortality based in Latin Christian theory—is evident in Rivera’s series of four oil paintings, which make a contemporary statement on this idea of mortality.
“As I progressed, it started to feel like a celebration of my life in the Dutch style. That’s why the title, Memento Vivre (Remember to Live), focuses more on life than death,” Rivera said.
Rivera obtained her BSEd in Art Education and art teacher certification within the department of Specialized Programs in Education at Hofstra as an undergraduate. She is currently pursuing her MA in Curriculum Design with a focus on Art Education with Professor Zwirn. Rivera is also enjoying her first year in a full-time, tenure-track art teaching position at Weber Middle School in the Port Washington school district.
“This exhibit celebrates artistic creation in the lives of individuals who are studying to become art teachers,” said Dr. Susan Zwirn, program director and professor of fine arts education. “Kristi secured her art teaching position on the strength of her undergraduate BSEd degree. Artist-teachers change the educational dynamic of the classroom in ways that invigorate both the content and practice of teaching and learning. Kristi embodies the highest ideals that we work to transmit to our students.”
Rivera’s previous artwork explored the notion of heritage, specifically how the game of dominoes is a symbolic representation of her own Puerto Rican culture. For her current series, she chose objects with deeper autobiographical undertones, focusing on things significant to her personal identity such as her violin, her paintbrushes, and the skull from her first art classroom.
“The education program at Hofstra is unparalleled,” she said. “If there’s any place to learn how to teach a child art, it’s Hofstra.”