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Mariapia Malerba


Mariapia Malerba is a visual artist, filmmaker and fashion designer.

March 26, 2021.



Mariapia Malerba bringing ‘Shadopia’ to the Capital Gallery in February

Fashion designer, visual artist and filmmaker Mariapia Malerba is bringing new work to the Capital Gallery in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in February. Called Shodopia, the show is comprised of work she’s created with a technique inspired by Shodo.

Shodo is a form of calligraphy in which an ink-dipped brush is used to create Chinese kanji and Japanese kana characters. Practitioners are admired for the accuracy of the characters they create, the balance with which they arrange them on the paper, how they shade the ink and, especially, the way they handle the brush while performing the calligraphy.

The art of Shodo originated in China during the Han dynasty and came to Japan in the sixth century, along with methods for making brushes, ink and paper. In those days, calligraphy was an essential part of the education of members of noble families. But as time passed, the art spread among the common people. Today Shodo is not just a celebrated and revered art form, but a harmonious and philosophical process that fuses poetry, literature, and painting by possessing rhythm, emotion, aesthetic and spirituality in one unique art form. It’s such an important aspect of Japanese culture and ideals that it is even introduced to Japanese children as early as elementary school.

Mariapia has modified this ancient form (hence, Shodo-pia) by substituting a tool of common use for the bamboo brush traditionally employed in Shodo. To create her art, Mariapia employs a broom to create beautifully balanced, sweeping works of art through a fluid, spontaneous motion that codifies sacred value in each stroke and line.

To see the results of this unique, Zenlike technique, you’ll just have to see the exhibit. But at last Monday night’s TGIM, Mariapia brought a 2-minute short film titled The Dancing Shadow on the Rose to demonstrate her newfound art form. You can see that film here.

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