The work of Jill Skulina portrays emotional strength and transformation through candid and vulnerable narratives. Goddesses, madonnas and celestial beings depict out-of-body experiences and disconnection from reality; as well as revelation, transcendence and liberation from what has come before. Her work shows memories of life events: memories which may be inaccurate, misremembered or one-sided; which traverse timelines, with imagery appearing at times incongruous to the narrative of each piece. The work makes no attempt to ‘correct’ the memories or straighten the timeline.
In this new work made for Nomas* Jill was asked to investigate the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus, with particular focus on the biblical interpretation of events, and how her own experience as a mother affected that reading. Addressing the theme of The Incarnation, Jill has been working with historical interpretations of events, memories and written accounts; the role of translation and re-membering. Wholly Expletive is comprised of 5 ceramic vessels each telling a small part of a wider narrative around pregnancy and the birth of Jesus. Themes include teenage pregnancy; being the mother of a teenage girl; childbirth; and omnipresent notions of virginity and patriarchy. Jill has stripped back the story of the nativity and left only the main characters as she sees it: Mary, Jesus and – like any good parent who wants to support her daughter – Mary’s own mother. The male characters of the narrative have been deemed unimportant by the artist.
Jill Skulina is a Dundee based artist working out of WASPS Artists Studios; she graduated with a BDes hons in 2003 and an MFA in 2007 both from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. She is a Professional member of the Society of Scottish Artists and in 2016 received the Visual Artist and Craft Makers Award Fife, Development Programme. Jill regularly works in the wardrobe department of Dundee Rep Theatre and Scottish Dance Theatre; teaches classes at V&A Dundee and Dundee Ceramics Workshop and is a volunteer for Bliss a charity for premature and sick babies.