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Mariapaola (MP) has been producing artworks for over twenty years. She started as a painter and has been drawn to the fragility and detail required in paper cutting art. MP is first generation born in South Africa with Italian/Irish heritage. She holds Honours, Cum Laude, in Visual Arts and an Executive MBA from Henley Africa.

MP’s interest in paper cutting began many, many years ago when her uncle brought an original Chinese papercutting artwork as a gift. The artwork was only A5 in size but the detail achieved on the black piece of paper and the fragility of the work intrigued her; and started a lifetime journey of exploring and pushing her skills in this craft.

Papercut art has a rich and diverse history. It appeared first during the Han dynasty in 4th century AD after the Chinese official, Cai Lun, invented paper in 105 AD, and then appeared in West Asia by the 8th or 9th century, and in Turkey by the 16th century. It was in the 16th century as well that papercut art or 'scherenschnitte' was established in Switzerland and Germany.

‘There are no short cuts in this artform. All I have to work with is a piece of paper and a cutting knife. The work is realised through many, many hours of focus, patience and accuracy. A wrong cut can mean starting all over again. With its deep roots in tradition the artworks still feel relevant and contemporary in nature; perhaps because the concepts relate to our modern world and my perceptions of it.’

Mariapaola McGurk

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