My cement and mosaic sculptures are an exploration of the human transition from spirit to matter. I use symbols from different spiritual teachings I have found strength in. It is the heart of my work and tugs at the veil between the conscious and the unconscious.
The totem, the spiral, and the vessel, give me a symbolic vocabulary to work with. Bridged with the female figure they communicate a synthesis of the transcendental and the human and are inspired by my interest in religion, from the Goddess, to Buddhism, to Christianity.
Cement, my material of choice, embodies the timeless, primitive quality I am looking for. Its earth based composition, at times stone like and rough, at times smooth and polished has a weighty, solid presence that makes the ephemeral real. The mosaic element connects me to my Swedish background in crafts and adds complexity, contrast, and sophistication to the art.
The archetypal imagery of my sculptures offers the viewer a connection to the preverbal mystery within themselves and creates a place where magic is still possible.
Ninni Baeckstrom grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, immersed by various crafts. After moving to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1988 she studied sculpture at the University of Virginia and started exhibiting her work. Her sculptures can be found in public places and private residences around the country.
Baeckstrom is a long term member of the McGufffey Art Center in Charlottesville, VA. Over the years she has received numerous grants from the Virginia Commission of the Arts to facilitate sculpture gardens for the Albemarle County school system.
In 2008 Baeckstrom collaborated with the Enrichment Alliance of Virginia to found “Monumental Collaboration,” a program designed to bring art to underserved children in the Charlottesville area. They received a BAMA grant in 2009 and Baeckstrom designed, built and installed a monument with the help of students at William Monroe Middle School in Green County, VA. In 2010 Baeckstrom was selected to be one of 10 exhibiting artists of Art in Place in Charlottesville.
Baeckstrom works out of Serpentine Studio in Charlottesville, VA. She teaches art to children and adults and is the co-founder of “Pathfinders,” a summer art camp that integrates art and nature.