This work explores the ways in which emotional energy, such as sentiments associated with depression, trauma, and anxiety, can be represented in a physical form with the mediums of ceramic and fibre sculpture. It discusses the ways in which using these materials’ properties can represent the complexities of these vibrations. When treating mood disorders or mental illness, when you are able to imagine something abstract like emotions as an image, form or object, it brings validity to it, and it brings something easy to visualize in order to work on ways to treat it. Therefore, with this work, I am questioning the ways in which this can be done with sculpture, and to create a dialogue, not for the viewer to connect with the specific emotion but rather to open up a space for contemplation of our interior lives that are often too elusive to share other than through material, abstract and affective works of art.


Malina Sintnicolaas is a sculptural artist currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. With a practice focused mostly in ceramic, and fibre sculpture, her works are considered to be manifestations, transmutations, or “petrifications” of emotions into a physical form. Her practice is focused in ceramic sculpture due to the tactile nature of the material, the reciprocity of the medium which allows for a physical recording and translation of a gesture, and the immediate occupation of space. Both fibre and ceramics are materials that have an interesting contrast in properties, that they can be so strong yet so fragile at the same time, which correlates to the subject matter of her work, because like the materials, the human psyche is fragile, unpredictable, and difficult to maintain. Drawn to tactile materials, her work is questioning ways in which one can represent emotions such as depression, trauma, and anxiety with a physical form and in what was can one induce empathy for an object even if that object is alien or abstract.  Working with texture, surface, material properties, and form, her sculptures are bodily, visceral, and drive to evoke feeling from the viewer, using affect to create an empathic landscape that will urge an understanding for states of mind which are difficult to be described verbally. She received her B.F.A from York University, and is currently completing her Master of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She is the recipient of the 2019 Audain Travel Award; the Won Lee Scholarship from the Sculpture Society of Canada, and has shown work in solo and group exhibitions internationally.