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27/06/2012 | Casa Cláudia Magazine | 06/2012 - 5 Things You Need to Know about Dona Izabel | By Silvia Avanzi

A member of the purest lineage of artisans of the Jequitinhonha Valley, in Minas Gerais, Izabel Mendes da Cunha, aged 87, constructed a unique history as a ceramics artist. Well known for her dolls, which she still produces in the town of Santana do Araçuaí, she received the Unesco Prize for Handicrafts for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2004. Enjoying national and international fame, Dona Izabel is now one of the 40 most popular artists around the world to have participated in the exhibition known as Histoires de Voir, Show and Tell, which in May opened at the Cartier Foundation, in Paris, France. While still a girl, she started to make earthenware dolls to play with, using the raw materials that her mother used to make pans. “I got the idea from my imagination”, she says. She gained recognition as from the 1970s and earned many followers. “Izabel spread her knowledge, as she understood that this way she could improve the lives of her apprentices”, says Vilma Eid, from the Estação Art Gallery in São Paulo. Her dolls showed innovative techniques, such as eyes sculpted in embossed form. Another trademark of this artist is the mixture of different kinds of clay to add colour to her figures and their clothes Brides dressed in white, mothers with children, and girls in party clothes are typical of her work. “She is an extraordinary portrait painter, representing the women of the Jequitinhonha Valley”, says art historian Lélia Coelho Frota. Article in the Casa Cláudia Magazine, June 2012, Journalist Silvia Avanzi.




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