Liesel Cotta de Souza’s creates beautiful paintings using thread
Liesel Cotta de Souza’s creates beautiful paintings using threadGomantak Times

Liesel Cotta de Souza is the only artist in Goa, who creates paintings in thread

Liesel Cotta de Souza’s paintings are undoubtedly breathtaking. But, they aren’t your regular works of art, and are in fact, created in thread

When it comes to painting, the different mediums that are used are oil paints, watercolours, acrylic paints, graphite pencils, charcoal etc. But, for Liesel Cotta de Souza, it is none of the above. To date, she is the only artist in Goa to create machine embroidered art works.

Growing up in Agassaim, she learnt traditional embroidery from her aunt and mother, and on completing her degree in painting from the Goa College of Art, Panjim, in 1998, she continued embroidery. Her husband, renowned artist Querozito, suggested that she use only thread as a medium, instead of paint.

A professor from the Goa College of Art was a judge at her first art show in the early 90s and asked her to explain her technique. “He thought my works were made with sand. When I told him I’d used thread, he was amazed and gave me a prize!” she recalls.

Many dismissed her work as embroidery, copied from one of those readymade drawings that one gets in embroidery pattern books. And, despite a lot of discouragement, she persevered to extend it to a newer realm and has carved a niche in the art scenario in Goa.

Paintings in thread by Liesel Cotta de Souza. 'Eva' (left) & 'And the creases all done' (right)
Paintings in thread by Liesel Cotta de Souza. 'Eva' (left) & 'And the creases all done' (right) Gomantak Times

CHALLENGES & MORE

When planning and working on a theme, the work develops from a preconceived image by preparing a rough linear sketch indicating the overall composition, and the embroidery starts from one corner proceeding to the final image.

Over a period of time, Liesel started incorporating fabric, rope, feathers, printed fabric, which was challenging as she had to adjust the print to the subject or vice versa, adding details and texture. Unlike working with acrylic and oil, the medium does not permit errors, and it would be arduous to rectify.

“I would like to say that there are restrictions as one cannot do large works, but, I have attempted quite a few. More than the restrictions of size, it takes such a long time to complete a work, and it’s difficult to continue working on the same imagery,” she elucidates.

'The Game'. Painting in thread by Liesel Cotta de Souza
'The Game'. Painting in thread by Liesel Cotta de SouzaGomantak Times

Liesel’s compositions are thematic, mostly portraying women in their daily chores or in natural surroundings. On studying the works closely, one notices each stand of hair flying in the breeze, detailed facial expressions and movement. She has done a series of landscapes, clowns, fantasy, portraiture of Mother Teresa and other personalities, all in a soothing colour palette.

“Creating a painting requires concentration, precisely planning the colour palette, effort and a lot of time and perseverance. I have worked in this medium for thirty years, and intend to continue for decades to come,” she asserts.

She received the State Art Award in 1991 at the All India Art Exhibition. In 1999, ‘Fado’ at Jammat Gallery, Mumbai, won an award at the All India Art Exhibition, A.I.F.A.C.S.

Liesel Cotta de Souza’s creates beautiful paintings using thread
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SOLO SHOWS IN GOA

  • 1998: Exhibiton at Alliance Francaise Galerie

  • 2000: ‘Projections’ at India International Center Gallery, Delhi

  • 2005: ‘Framed Images’ at Galeria Cidade de Goa

  • 2006: ‘Fantasies’ at Sexta Seis Space

  • 2010: ‘They, You, Me’ at Tamarind Art Gallery

  • 2017: ‘Beyond Thread’ at Maquinez Art Gallery

She was also part of several group exhibitions in Goa from 1986 to 1999 at numerous galleries, many of which have closed down over the years.

  • 1987: Mini Format Art Exhibition, Bijapur

  • 1994: Gallery Greenwood, Delhi, and 'Circa' in Goa

  • 1999: ‘Fado’ at Jammat Gallery, Mumbai, won an award at the All India Art Exhibition, A.I.F.A.C.S

  • 2001: M.A.E. Art Exhibition, Zen Art Gallery, Bangalore; and Cidade Gallery, Goa

  • 2002: Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai

  • 2002: 17th National EGA Exhibition, USA.

  • 2003/2004: Fontainhas Festival of the Arts, Goa

  • 2004: ‘Mind's Journey's’ at Galeria Cidade de Goa

  • 2005: Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery in Mumbai, ‘Portugal Through the Eyes of Artists in Goa’ in Panjim,

  • 2006: ‘Portugal Through the Eyes of Artists in Goa’ in Margao; ‘Goa, Goa, Goa’ at Jammat Art Gallery, Mumbai

  • 2007: ‘Aparanta, The confluence of Contemporary Art’ in Goa, and ‘Vismaya’ in Bangalore

  • 2009: ‘Annual Exhibition RAG’ in Goa

  • 2010: Anniversary Show in Baga, Goa

  • 2011: ‘Goan Kaleidoscope’, ‘Carnival of Colours’, ‘Draw the Line’ at Sunaparanta, Centre for the Arts, Panjim

  • 2014: ‘Pilar Art Fest’ in Pilar, Goa

  • 2015: ‘Water’ Gallery Gitanjali, and ‘Pilar Art Fest’ at Pilar, Goa

  • 2017: ‘Opus Tinta’ an Exhibition of Drawings; ‘She’ an exhibition of art works at Cube Gallery, Goa

Liesel Cotta de Souza’s creates beautiful paintings using thread
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