Paula do Prado

Fibre Art

Paula do Prado is a full time artist based in Sydney working in textiles, collage, painting, soft objects and text. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, do Prado emigrated to Australia in 1986. Her work explores identity in relation to authenticity, privilege and belonging. In particular she draws on her mixed European and Afro-Uruguayan heritage to investigate the politics of experience as a migrant living on stolen land. Intertwining past and present, notions of home and away, real and imagined, her work often uses the decorative including pattern, colour and texture to create multiple layers of meaning.

Paula is currently working on an ongoing series of experimental fibre studies she calls 'Hybrid Forms'. Visually these works reference a combination of forms; feminine and masculine reproductive organs, animals (owls, octopi, jellyfish) and ceremonial African masks. Eyes are a recurring symbolic motif as windows to the soul, seeing and not seeing and simultaneously looking towards the past and future. Each work in the series is highly individual and a one-off piece. The intensive handmade process blends traditional and non-traditional textile techniques and materials. Hybrid Forms are talisman like objects that attempt to connect to the spiritual through the power of transformation.

Paula holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Textiles) with First Class Honours and a Master of Fine Arts from Art & Design at the University of New South Wales. She has previously lectured in Textiles at Art & Design and now continues to facilitate a range of independent art workshops in soft sculpture. She has held several solo and groups shows in Australia as well as overseas in Mexico, Brooklyn USA and Brighton UK.


What is your 'origin story'?! Where did it all start? 

I have always been very creative. I used to sneak in a pencil to my cot when I was about 2 or 3 and do some tiny drawings on the wall. My mum was and still is very supportive, she'd get me my favourite pencil to use, those big triangular carpenters pencils and always made sure she had crafty bits and pieces on hand for me to use. Drawing and making with everyday materials is how I used to play as a child, we couldn't afford expensive toys and so I grew up making my own dolls, dolls clothes and using lots of paper and fabric scraps, buttons, and yarn. My making process hasn't changed much!

Describe the last thing you made?

A series of six of my Hybrid Form fibre pieces for the Object Shop!

What part of the making process do you enjoy the most?

All of it. I like to imagine new pieces and shapes, sometimes that will come from a little sample I have done or something I made a long time ago that I am now ready to work back into. I love the process of making itself, sourcing materials, researching African (specifically Yoruba) and Latin American craft and making techniques.

Who should we be following on Instagram? Who are your favourite local makers?

So many talented makers out there! But here are a few of my faves: @yarrenyty_arltere @lynda_draper @sianboucherd @mafu_cardoso and @hannahbronte.

What's next on the horizon for you?

A solo show at AIRSpace Gallery in Marrickville mid 2018!

Image: Paula do Prado, Onda 2017, Cotton, felt, hemp, silk paper yarn, wire, polystring, seed beads, Tumi beads, fair trade a├žai beads.50 x 44cm. Photo Andy Stevens