Paula do Prado uses textiles as a language to express complex cultural intertwinings.
Her work utilises traditional and non-traditional craft techniques to create hybridised fibre forms, altered books and photographic self-portraits fused with fabric collage, stitch and beading. In recent years she has been experimenting with a process of crocheting with wired paper twine to create pliable coiled forms which are becoming larger-scale and increasingly sculptural.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, do Prado emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1986 where she continues to live and work. She is of African, Hispanic and European descent. Her work explores her experience as a first-generation migrant and as a non-indigenous brown woman navigating Australian society and its ongoing and problematic colonial history. Although her work is highly personal and autobiographical, it oscillates between playful and tragic ambiguity to reference universal human preoccupations with belonging, cultural and gender identity.
This is her statement about the work:
El Grito translates from Spanish to The Scream, a title associated with Edvard Munch’s well-known painting of the same name. In this version of The Scream, the focus is solely on the head, the body and any notion of place are removed. There are multiple associations and references within the work including ceremonial masks, adornment, the body, spirituality, mental health, liberation, the third eye, aura, interconnections, neural networks, identity and self. It is for me a representation of what it is to exist in the diaspora and the defence mechanisms that come from trauma: to dissociate from the body/place.
This work features in Place Makers at the Australian Tapestry Workshop (24 September – 6 December 2019), along with works by Kay Lawrence AM, Yunuen Pérez, Mu Naw Poe, Bronwyn Razem, Ema Shin, Muhubo Suleiman and Lisa Waup.