Jan 31

Art Ed Student Profile: Meet Carnila Igusti Ayu

by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson & Carnila Igusti Ayu

We sat down with Art Education Student Carnila Igusti Ayu to discuss her experience with Mural Arts and her trajectory as an artist. Carnila joined our after-school program at Southwark Middle School in 2021 and has continued to grow her artistic practice in our open-enrollment class for high school students. Carnila worked with Art Ed Lead Teaching Artist Rebecca Miller on the recently dedicated A Tale of Two Sisters mural as part of the We Will Write the World Project at the Charles Santore Library.  She is currently in Brad Carney’s Advanced Program class at 417 N. 8th Street. She’s a talented young artist and an all-around awesome person. The assistant teaching artists at both of the sites Carnila attends/attended are also former Mural Arts students!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! My name is Carnila. I am a freshman at JR Masterman Secondary School, and my passion for art led me to Mural Arts. These past sessions, I helped make the mural A Tale of Two Sisters, located at the Charles Santore Library to advocate literature for the younger audience! It’s a beautifully made mural that you should definitely check out!

Tell us about how you got involved with Mural Arts.

Mural Arts became a new after-school program for my artistic practice at Southwark Middle School. It was during the time when buildings reopened after the COVID pandemic lockdown, so my first class wasn’t really big, but over time, I watched how younger students became interested in studying their artistic styles.

The program was under a branch of Sunrise, an after-school program. This connection allowed me to practice my art yet also learn many activities Sunrise has to offer. If you asked my past self, she wouldn’t expect herself to stay within Mural Arts for this long, but I’m glad I did— all my experience in working for A Tale of Two Sisters, the summer class I attended, and the people I’ve found in this community have been amazing. Making connections and creativity are two things I deeply value; this experience has pushed me to be a better version of myself!

How has your role as a participant in the Mural Arts program influenced your own artistic practice?

As a student, I‘ve been more open to using different mediums in my artistic practice! As my experience with Mural Arts grew, I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone. This learning process helps me a lot with my specific style and sort of mix-and-match materials that I‘d like to experiment with.

 

A Tale of Two Sisters. Photo: Steve Weinik.

What was it like working with Rebecca Miller on the Tale of Two Sisters project?

Working with Rebecca Miller—or as I like to call her, Ms. Becky was an honor. I had so much fun working on this mural. One of our earliest works was using cameras and walking around the neighborhood for inspiration for our own story. The project went from sharing ideas and images when I was in 7th grade to now, starting high school, and I got to see how these ideas developed to the dedication of the mural itself!

I spent around eight months working with Ms. Becky, from brainstorming the project to writing, designing, and even painting a part of it! Ms. Becky is my role model: as someone who draws nature a lot, I love her work, and being in her class, she inspired me to strive forward and helped me in every way possible. When I attended the Mural Dedication for this project, It felt refreshing to see her (and the Southwark class) all at once for the last time. I wish nothing but the best for them in the future!

What are you learning in your class with Brad Carney?

My classes with Brad are like an unsolved Rubik’s cube; they’re colorful, new, and exciting to attend. The theme for this year is folklore and imagination. In his class, we started an I am From poem and got to be as creative as we wanted. After we finished, we were asked to come up with dynamic poses that fit the storyline of our own poems, and the lovely teachers took photos and printed them out. We used the photos to trace over to a bigger black paper, outlining the light and darker values we would paint later. Brad pushed us more by starting our backgrounds that would be vibrant and contrasting the monochromatic self-portrait.

This project is still in progress, but I can’t wait to see everyone’s story in the end!

What do you see yourself doing in the future?  What is your dream career?

In the future, I see myself in college. Career-wise, I’m unsure as there are many careers I take interest in. I’ve thought about being a psychologist or a designer of some sort. As a child, I wanted to become a nurse because of my mom. Now, I’ve been dipping my toes in certain career fields and realizing what fits my interests and what I want in my future. Mural Arts has definitely helped me and showed me how fun art can be!

Photos of Carnila in Action!  

  • Once Upon a Time in South Philly © 2023 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Rebecca Miller, Charles Santore Library, 932 South 7th Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • Artist Rebecca Miller with her students in front of her mural A Tale of Two Sisters at the Charles Santore Library at the mural dedication. Photo by Phoebe Bachman.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu at the dedication for A Tale of Two Sisters at the Charles Santore Library. Photo by Phoebe Bachman.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Artwork by Carnila Igusti Ayu. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Artwork by Carnila Igusti Ayu. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu and her classmates visiting a mural. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu with her artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Art work by Carnila Igusti Ayu. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu with her artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu creating artwork. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Artwork by Carnila Igusti Ayu. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Artwork by Carnila Igusti Ayu. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Carnila Igusti Ayu at the dedication for A Tale of Two Sisters at the Charles Santore Library. Photo by Rebecca Miller.

  • Social post with Carnila Igusti Ayu.

Last updated: Jan 31, 2024

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