Maria Nepomuceno’s spectacular sculptures combine fluid, organic forms with vivid colours and traditional rope-weaving and straw-braiding techniques.

They will be shown alongside natural history books and archive materials from the Library’s 19th-century collection illustrating Manchester’s international and colonial connections during the city’s formative years. With spiral patterns evoking biological and spiritual themes, Maria’s brightly-coloured artworks will bring the vibrancy of the natural world into the Library’s tranquil interior.

Life-drawing models will be interacting with Maria’s expansive artworks throughout the afternoon of the 1st of July under the Portico’s beautiful Regency-era dome and materials will be provided in case you want to create your own drawings to add to the exhibition and accompanying publication.

Using traditional and new techniques, Maria Nepomuceno has, since the early 2000s, developed a process of sewing spirals of materials including rope, beads and straw to explore the innumerable permutations of this adaptable form. Her sculptures and installations incorporate beads, ceramics and found objects.

Often realised in carnival-bright colours, these works are chromatically, culturally and metaphorically rich, suggesting animals, plants, the human body and landscape, and ranging from the microscopic to the macrocosmic. Nepomuceno’s fluid forms articulate space in a playful way, inviting tactile exploration.

The rope as a connecting thread is as conceptual as it is literal in Nepomuceno’s practice. In recent years collaboration has become a central factor in her work. She has worked with indigenous Huni Kuin people in the north of Brazil and has linked with community groups to realise projects for her exhibitions. For instance, elements of Nepomuceno’s installation Tempo para Respirar (Breathing Time) at Turner Contemporary in Margate were made in collaboration with a local artist studio group brought together by the artist specifically to learn her techniques and work on the commission.

This spirit of cooperation and openness will continue at The Portico Library, where materials will be provided for members of the public to create drawings of themselves and their friends posing with Maria’s tactile artworks. These drawings will then be added to the exhibition as part of an evolving display throughout the summer.

1st July-11th October 2021

Open 10am-4pm Mondays-Fridays


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here