The big heart of women: Ceramic sculptures in paper clay by Roberta Barlati

We met with Roberta to talk to her about her sculpture exhibition “The big heart of women” currently being exhibited in Heritage House N. 13 Alserkal Cultural Foundation at Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, Bur Dubai. This is what she had to say about these beautifully intricate sculptures.


These sculptures speak about women. About the feminine universe. These Ladies aim to send a message of consciousness saying that even if your hair are standing on end, and everything gets tense, it always worth to listen to one’s heart. The heart represents also the mediator between hands and brain and the illusory fragility is actually strength.

I am continuously shocked about the number of feminicide in the world. My challenge is to take on the content of gender equality, close to my heart, and present it in an amusing way.


I started out with the intention to create ironic figures who tell their emotions, their own conditions, even when you have your hair standing on end, due to stress and upsetting situations, it is important to maintain positive thoughts and behavior, cultivating one’s affections.


The research for symbolic and material lightness has been tormenting me for years. Ceramic is the passion of my life but it has the only problem of being heavy; so after creating some ceramic Ladies and giving them voice and shape, I have experimented paper clay in Yadawei Ceramic Studio in Dubai.


After the experience with papier-mâché, I have found the medium I was looking for, it’s a sort of mix between ceramic and papier-mâché with the best characteristics of both. It’s resistant, malleable and light.


The process to create sculptures is a way to meditate on things which makes me more aware about myself and the world.


-Roberta Barlati lives and works in Dubai and Italy. Her art career started with studying design, painting and pottery in Ravenna, Italy. From 1986 to 2007 she owned the Art Studio “Arte Ceramica” in Ravenna. She developed artistic projects designing and realizing traditional and contemporary majolica inspired by Byzantine mosaics widespread within most churches of Ravenna, along with majolica dinnerware whose designs were inspired by a traditional cloth print, the vine leaves. She created vases and abstract operas obtained by the fusion of mosaic’s tiles on colored glazes. She also created ceramics panels with reliefs that tell about landscapes and birds of the lagoon in her countryside. Her artistic products were sold to shops, private customers and public institutions. She has participated in national and international exhibitions. She taught sculpture and pottery in many schools of Ravenna to children and teenagers and she had organized classes at her Atelier for adults. Since 2007 she’s exploring other artistic expressions as oil on canvas, watercolor, charcoal, photography, mosaic and papier-mâché.

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