Corita Kent (also known as Sister Mary Corita) was born in 1918 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Raised in Los Angeles in a very religious family, she joined the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at age 18. Kent received her Bachelor’s from the Immaculate Heart College and her Master’s from the University of Southern California. From 1936-1968, she lived, studied, and taught at the Immaculate Heart. She headed the art department from 1964-1968. Kent began creating serigraphs (or screenprints) in the 1950s and gained international recognition in the 1960s. In 1968, she left the order and relocated to Boston to continue making art full time. She passed away in 1986.
Kent is known for her vibrant serigraphs that combined spiritual, pop cultural, and political themes. Her work reflected her concerns about poverty, racism, and war alongside imagery from advertisements and consumer culture at large. She made work directly in response to the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and other events of the time. Kent’s work is in the collections of many major institutions; most is held by the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles and the Hammer Museum (UCLA). She is recognized as a key figure in the Pop Art movement and art activism.