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An Interview With Artist Becca Cerra

Sculptor Becca Cerra’s recent project, titled Altered Aesthetics, focuses on four people living with amputations. Following is our conversation with the artist about her exploration of bodies with disabilities in her art.

Images by Melissa Hesse Photography.

What made you interested in pursuing a project related to people with disabilities?

Becca Cerra: Though I don’t appear to have a disability, chronic pain, limited mobility, and mental illness affect my everyday life and have been the impetus for my last few projects.

About four years ago, while preparing for my senior thesis in which I would dance with sculpture that I had created specifically for my body, I started developing debilitating pain in my ankle. For a year, the pain worsened, but doctors couldn’t identify its source. They began to think the injury had healed and that I was experiencing phantom limb pain without ever having had an amputation. That wasn’t the case, but it sparked my curiosity.

I finally found a doctor who was able to find the source of my pain and performed ankle reconstruction. Once I started the recovery process and regained some of my mobility, I began to realize the long-term impact my experience with my ankle will have on my career and the way I create art.

Can you give our readers a brief description of the project?

Becca Cerra: Altered Aesthetics explores beauty within disabled bodies. Collaborating with four people with amputations, I have created wearable sculptures that wrap around and extend from their residual limbs to create artistic expressions. My unique sculptural (nonmedical and nonfunctional) “prosthetics” are visual homages to the body’s story. They transform the wearers’ bodies into works of art and challenge limiting beliefs they and others may hold.

Most conversations about disabilities are fraught with misinformation, stigma, and limiting perceptions. Through this project, I aim to shatter these beliefs, educate the public, and empower individuals living with disabilities.

This project has already far exceeded my expectations.

Where can our readers view the project?

Becca Cerra: There have been a few exhibitions in Minnesota, and a portion of the project is part of a long-term exhibition called Made Here. It will be on display from December 2018 to April 2019 in a downtown Minneapolis storefront window. In late 2019, the work will be part of a three-person exhibition in Hopkins, Minnesota, and in 2020, Altered Aesthetics is headed to Wisconsin for two solo exhibitions.

Readers can also see the work on my website at www.beccacerra.com, and I’ve been sharing photos and updates via my Instagram and Facebook accounts (Becca Cerra).

My hope is to keep sharing this work, and I’d love to reach a national audience.

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