‘Invasion of Fish’: Estonian artist to hold exhibit in Destin

Savannah Chastain
Estonian ceramic artist Kadri Kaerma stands with some of her iconic cat pieces.

The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is hosting the 19th annual Festival of the Arts at the MKAF Cultural Arts Village, October 25-26. The festival will feature 100 visual artists and The Log will be featuring select artists in the weeks leading up to the event.

For the first time, an international artist will be gracing the Mattie Kelly Art Foundation’s Festival of the Arts with Estonian artist, Kadri Kaerma.

Kaerma lives in the district of Nõmme, a small village within Estonia’s capitol city of Tallinn. The small Eastern European town is already familiar with Destin through a new sister-city effort known as twin towns that has been in the works over the past several years.

“There was a little gathering last year in Nõmme district and there were two guests from the U.S.,” said Kaerma. “They were introducing Destin and an agreement of twin towns between Nõmme and Destin, and we were talking about this art festival as well.”

Kaerma said she found the concept of twin towns interesting but didn’t think that she would be the one to represent her country in Florida.

“I thought that it may be interesting to participate in some time in the future. I could never imagine that it would happen so soon,” she said.

As a world-renowned ceramic artist, Kaerma is most recognized for her bright, whimsical caricatures of animals; especially those of cats and fish.

When asked why she prefers these two opposing animals for her artwork, Kaerma replied; “I have been inspired more by fish since I am from the constellation of Pisces myself, and by cats because cats have zillions of faces.”

Kaerma told The Log that she has been honing her ceramic skills for nearly three decades.

“After graduating from secondary school, and before enrolling into Art Academy I worked in a Tallinn Art Ceramic Factory for a year,” she said. “I remember that the first thing I ever molded was a bright green hippopotamus; I haven’t done any hippos after that.”

After graduating from Estonian Art Academy in 1985, Kaerma quickly became a well known artist in Estonia’s capitol city, earning the title as a general artist for the Ceramic Art Center in Tallinn by 1995.

In 2009 she decided to leave the company and focus on her own creative skills and launched her personal studio and product line known as VIBALIK.

Today, Kaerma’s work is highly recognized and acclaimed world-wide with her work most recently exhibited in Japan.

“I had, ‘Total Catwalk,’ in Tokyo and ‘Estonian Owls,’ in Kyoto,” said Kaerma.

As she likes to add themes to her exhibits, Kaerma told The Log that she has created a special collection of fish for the Destin festival that she has dubbed, “Invasion of Fish.”

 “I always try to put positive energy and a little humor into my works,” she said. “I hope that I can create a good mood with it, and everyone can find his own character or charm among these fish.”