Ceramic Review Issue 252 pg 27
Natalia Dias wins the Gold Medal for Craft and Design
A Cardiff based, Portugese artist has won The Gold Medal for Craft and Design at the Blaenau Gwent & Heads of the Valleys 2010 National Eisteddfod of Wales. The accolade along with £3,000, has been awarded to Natalia Dias for her collection of allegorical ceramic works. This is the first time that the artist has exhibited at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
“From the first day, there was work that shone out, whilst others quietly revealed themselves more and more in subsequent meetings,” said Pamela Rawnsley of the selection process. “But Natalia Dias’ pieces sung out to all of us from the early stages.
“Her work conveys her narrative vision in a fresh and delightful way, while taking you on a darker voyage.”
“Natalia Dias’ ceramics are probably the most visceral and beautiful pieces of work that I have seen in this medium in a long time,” added fellow selector, John Selway.
Originally from Portugal the artist studied Restoration and Decorative Studies at Portsmouth University. There, she fell in love with clay and the ceramic processes after a module on tile restoration, at which point her career turned from restoring to creating works of art. Natalia Dias then went on to gain a degree in ceramics at Cardiff School of Art & Design, UWIC in 2009 and now practices at Fireworks Clay Studios in the city. The image of the human heart has developed to be the main motif in her work.
“This body of work is a surreal mix of fact and fantasy,” said the artist “These desirable objects - visceral candy and religious innuendo - have been inspired by the flamboyant 16th century French Palissy Ware. Adopted later, around the 19th century, by Portuguese artists, this longstanding tradition is now in threat of extinction. I am now drawing my own cultural identity closer to the art education that I have received in Wales and creating ceramic hybrids from both influences.”
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