Scripta manent: exploring the writing hand in the art of Nina Papaconstantinoy
University of New Brunswick
This research paper is a case study on the creative process of an artist who uses handwriting to copy well-known books in layers on one surface, page by page, in order to weave illegible textual patterns that intrigue the audience and beckon the eye to look closer and the mind to see writing as an image. The initial purpose of following the original artwork of Nina Papaconstantinou was to gain a deeper understanding of how she comes up with ideas and techniques that allow texts to illustrate themselves and to see how she makes creative use of handwriting among other tools of her artistic repertoire. However, the educational program based on her major solo exhibition, led to further research and allowed implications for children’s literacy to appear that were too important to ignore. Thus was added a second part that emerged naturally from the findings and attests how N.P.’s Art is also educationally and socially significant in the digital era. In the second part of the paper it is argued that to use Art as a means of preservation and creative invigoration of handwriting is not only possible but urgent and necessary in view of recent neuroscientific evidence.