Karen Miranda Augustine
Karen Miranda Augustine is a Canadian mixed-media artist whose works have exhibited in Canada, the US, Scotland, and Haiti.
A triptych of mixed-media portraits, Little Women presents the secret life of latchkey girls through a loose composition based on opon Ifá (Yoruba divination trays). The artist used herself and two other women as her subjects, each reflecting on memories and pop culture that resonated with them at the time.
A common phenomenon of Generation X, latchkey kids was a term given to children who were unsupervised at home before and/or after school—common especially in working class, immigrant families.
Collage and beadwork of media headlines, logos, and vintage imagery are cast across stainless steel serving trays, with a childhood photo of each donning a beaded adé (crown) that obscures their identities, leaving viewers with a sense of their spirit. The intention is to consider the inner worlds of young girls and how they come to understand the world around them during a time of great independence and self-reliance.
Adé for latchkey girl, age 9
(2020) Mixed Media
Beads, oil sticks, acrylic, sequins, collage, highlighter, crayons, nail polish, embroidery, and key on stainless steel serving tray, 16-inch diameter
Adé for latchkey girl, age 13
(2019) Mixed Media
Beads, oil sticks, sequins, collage, ink, highlighter, oil pastel, crayons, nail polish, necklace, and key on stainless steel serving tray, 16-inch diameter
Karen Miranda Augustine
My work is a mashup of indigenous spiritualism, popular culture, the metaphysical, and outsider Zen. I create two-dimensional, mixed-media art out of found materials, beadwork, elements of Haitian drapo, embroidery, and paint in a way that could be loosely described as low-relief assemblage. All are centered around a degraded photograph—usually stencil, photocopy, image transfer, or découpage—as it’s in the raw, primitive imprint of my subject where I find the most interest.
Memorialization is a repetitive theme in my art projects, which often include some aspect of participation from strangers and friends, as are the broader (and often misunderstood) life experiences of women and girls. I’m interested in the ways that shared experiences interconnect us and how our journeys through affliction can take us to a place of self-possession. Whether filtered through media stories, my personal life, mythology, or casual observation, I like to dig into the backstories of my subjects and connect that to the Spirit realm—to that in-between place where our earthly conditions converge with that of the Unseen. For these reasons, I classify my work as ritualistic pop art.
Karen Miranda Augustine is a Canadian mixed-media artist whose works have exhibited in Canada, the US, Scotland, and Haiti. She has been published and cited in various books and publications, including Caribbean InTransit Arts Journal, The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts (Cleis Press), The Art of Reflection: Women Artists’ Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century (Columbia University Press), and Ghetto Biennale / Geto Byenal: 2009–2015 (Central Books). Her creative projects ride on the confluence of sex, pop culture, spirituality, and the underground. She holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University and is an emerging death and grief worker.