“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
– Eleonora Duse
Discovering the Ecological Self
Welcome to the social practice art project Discovering the Ecological Self (D-Eco-Self). Led by artist and Monmouth University assistant professor Kimberly Callas, this collaborative project focuses on a personal connection to nature cultivated through workshops and volunteer work.
Discovering the Ecological Self is a social practice project that focuses on discovering places within us where we are intimately connected to nature. Inspired by Kimberly Callas’ background in sustainability, the project is designed to foster environmental stewardship and create environmental leaders and Social Practice artists. Researching and creating art from personally and culturally significant nature-based symbols, patterns, and images, we re-awaken our deep relationship with nature. As part of the project, we create eco-portrait masks that combine a specific connection with nature with our own likeness, creating a visual expression of our ‘ecological selves.’ As we explore this relationship, we discover new understandings of ourselves and our place in the planet.
D-Eco-Self is reliant on partnerships between artists, college students, faculty, community non-profits, and volunteers. Current collaborators include Aslan Youth Ministry, faculty and students from the Science Department at Monmouth University, Callas’ Sculpture II classes, Monmouth University’s Artist for Change club members, and local environmental volunteers. D-Eco-Self leads workshops and residencies with universities, non-profits, and communities in New Jersey, Maine, Nebraska, California, and Spain.
Callas has recently become the Urban Coast Institute Artist-in-Residence. During this two-year residency, D-Eco-Self workshops will focus on symbols and research around the theme OCEAN.
Featured in the Huffington Post, this project is funded in part by The Pollination Project and an Urban Coast Institute Grant. Professor Callas also received a Service-Learning Faculty Fellowship through Monmouth University for this project.
Start with the Eco-Self Survey! Discover images and symbols in nature that are significant to you and start digging deeper into your own ecological self. You can also volunteer or sign up for a D-Eco-Self Workshop.
Visit our About page. There, you will find a video, detailed description of the project, read about the basics of Social Practice, learn about the artist and collaborators, and more.