PAULO LIMA – Divine Threads: The Art of Dressing Santos
May 4 - June 3
Divine Threads: The Art of Dressing Santos brings together a selection of work by artist Paulo P. Lima, Ph.D. that investigates the intricate aspects of a religious tradition of dressing Saints in a playful form. The works on view represent of two areas from the artist’s body of work: photographs and dressed figures.
On View: May 4 – 24
Opening Event: Sunday, May 6 from 3-5:30pm
The photographs in this exhibition, which were primarily taken in the United States for the last ten years, stemmed from Lima’s collection of dressed Santos, which were first produced to compose costumes for a theatrical performance designed by Lima during his master’s degree at California State University Long Beach.
The dressed figures in this exhibition are contemporary interpretations of Santos de Roca or Santos de Vestir (dressing saints). Lima was inspired by the Brazilian baroque tradition of dressing articulated religious figures of saints, which was prevalent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Brazil, Latin America, Europe and parts of Asia, and in many places still today. Santos are lavishly dressed to be carried in processions and to be displayed in churches in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and the Philippines. These figures—which demonstrate Lima’s interest in dressing vintage reproductions of iconic images in a contemporary and more secular style—are meticulously dressed with handcrafted felts and hand-dyed silks as well as everyday materials such as paper, dried leaves, leather, wool, found jewelry and plastic.
Lima began designing costumes in 1986 after receiving a fashion design certificate from Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Comercial in São Paulo, Brazil. Upon completing his coursework, Lima went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from the University of São Paulo. Lima emigrated to the United States where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Technical Theater and Costume Design from California State University – Long Beach. Lima also earned a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at University of California – Los Angeles. The artist’s doctoral studies focused on the garments worn by practitioners of Candomblé and resulted in the writing of the dissertation titled Candomblé and Its Living Garments (2014).
Lima’s dressed figures have been showcased at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum in Albuquerque, NM along with his photographs illustrating aspects of religiosity within Candomblé.