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Combining American consumerism, religious scripture, pop song lyrics and political activism, Corita Kent’s work was incomparable to any other artist. But for Corita, her prints weren’t just art but a way to get her message across to the world. In celebration of her 100th birthday, Atelier Éditions will reproduce a series of her prints for the first time with the book International Signal Code Alphabet by Corita Kent, available from the 1st of June.

Fifty-six years ago, Sister Mary Corita, a devout catholic nun, viewed Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking exhibition of Campbell’s soup cans. You can picture her there fully habited in black and white, contrasted against the vivid reds of Warhol’s work. This discovery of pop art dramatically changed the way she thought and worked, as she realised she could use popular culture as a vehicle to target social injustices, racism, war and poverty.

Fast-forward six years and many artistic achievements, and Sister Mary Corita takes a sabbatical from the religious order and heads to Cape Cod, where she then leaves her nun-hood behind for good. A large event in her life, Cape Cod was the inspiration for this series of works. Drawn to the bright colours and bold shapes, Corita used the maritime international code of signals to create an alphabet series of screen prints.

Corita’s art often crossed the boundaries between fine art, design and commercial work, and this series is a beautiful example of this hybridity. Painting directly onto the silkscreens, she formed her own unique serigraphy style with primary colours and fluid typography. Available in first and special edition cloth-bound books, celebrate the life of an icon by taking one home.

Peach Doble
All images are Courtesy of Corita Art Center/Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles.

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