Mariapaola (or fondly known as MP) has been a practising visual artist for over 20 years. She has her honours, cum laude, in visual arts and an Executive MBA. Her speciality was painting until, in 2010, she started exploring papercutting as an artform and has been working in this artform ever since. This artform is not common and there are only a handful of contemporary papercutting artists globally with even fewer within South Africa. MP has been exploring this medium for many years trying to find an approach that both technically and conceptually aligns to her style and intention. The process of making these artworks is core to its appeal: ‘This artform challenges my very nature and has been critical to my daily life. I am a fast paced, passionate, and volatile person who sometimes does not stop long enough to catch my own breath – but this artform forces me to stop, to consider, and to breathe a little slower. I cannot speed up the process, I cannot ‘run’ as I usually do – this has been a huge blessing to me. The simplicity of the material really captivates something that I am continually in search of – peace, truth, the purpose of our lives. The final artworks are all only one piece of paper that have been cut delicately to reveal the artwork, they are fragile and very detailed. The process of this artform is as important as the concept in the works.’ MP works as a lecturer, researcher, and consultant alongside being a visual artist. Her interest lies in creative entrepreneurship and its potential impact on youth unemployment within South Africa. Mariapaola McGurk (D’Andrea) is first generation South African born with Italian/Irish heritage. Her father immigrated to South Africa from a small village in Abruzzi, Italy at 17 years old; and her mother from Dublin, Ireland at 5 years old.
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