Domitila de Paulo: Collage and Reinventing the Self
It was through a process of compiling, fragmenting, and adding new meaning to established images that Domitila de Paulo, of Minas Gerais, assembled her symbolic portrait as a visual artist and black woman after starting her career as a stylist and fashion designer. Because, to what extent was her image represented in the pieces she was creating for top brands? “I was seeing few references that led me to understand my identity and Afro-Brazilian identity,” she recalls. Her return to the use of collage – a mainstay when she was in fashion school – resulted in the series Deusas no Orun (Goddesses in Heaven, 2015), a creation inspired by her reading of the work Igbadu, a cabeça da existência: mitos nagôs revelados (Igbadu, the Head of Existence: Nagô Myths Revealed), by Adilson de Oxalá, about the creation myths of the religious universe which gave rise to orisha worship.
The canvases connecting woman, nature, and the universe drew attention and, today, her collages also illustrate album and book covers. The artist works with analog collage, and gleaning used images is an important part of the creative process. “I always liked collecting vintage publications, curious about materials and how they have changed over time from past eras to the present in which I am living. And recognizing, through touch, the different paper textures, impressions, colors, and approaches,” she remarks.