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Sharon Kopriva, 1991

Rite of Passage
papier-mâché, cloth, bone, wood,
mixed media
152.4 x 335.3 x 182.9 cm
Collection of Nancy
Reddin Kienholz
© 1991 Sharon Kopriva

Kopriva's Rite of Passage, with her usual mummylike figures created from animal bones, rags, and papier-mâché, represents the transitional stage between earthly existence and the hereafter. The work derives its powerful effect from our instincts and feelings for symbolic rituals of the past. In Kopriva's view, our physical and spiritual selves are part of the cycle of human history that links us to the larger cycle of nature.

Kopriva's work is influenced by many different cultures and traditions: her Catholic upbringing, experiences with Latino and African-American communities in Houston, a fascination with ancient Egyptian rites, and the religious practices of indigenous Peruvian peoples. Distilling and refining all of these elements, Kopriva achieves a distinctive yet eerily familiar synthesis of metaphysical ideas.