Umbelina Barros

Umbelina dos Santos Barros

Umbelina Barros has her workshop in a very striking area of the Chaldean past: “Águas Santas”. This is where, less affluent patients with skin problems such as “baby cloth” and psoriasis, went to the thermal treatments.

Umbelina is born on 06/03/1974 in Miaux, Seine-et-Marne, France. She comes to Portugal, more specifically to Caldas da Rainha, around his 4/5 years. Her first ceramic experiences live them, as a 5th year student, at D. João II school, where she took classes in “Ceramics and Design” with Prof. Antonino Mendes.

She continues her training at CENCAL where she attends classes in “Pottery” and “Creative Ceramics”, which ends in 1998. She continues her learning at ESAD, where she holds a degree in “Fine Arts and New Media” and a master’s degree in “Fine Arts. She is a PhD in “Artistic Education” at FBAUP, in Porto.

She created her workshop in 1998, where she remains.

Each piece from Umbelina’s hands is a unique piece since it is essentially dedicated to artistic ceramics, uniting, in many cases, the functional to the aesthetic. The artist confesses that her work goes through different phases, dependent on her momentary experience and her imagination.

At a certain stage she dedicates herself to the wheel; in a nostalgic experience, she produces utilitarian pieces in red clay, which later she lives with traditional drains, of Caldense influence.

At a certain point in her career, she deconstructs the human body, giving it new forms. Let’s take a look at her black and white women in raku, works from a phase that, curiously enough, coincides with the post-natal period. She also uses the wheel in these pieces, an instrument of her choice that she feels comfortable working with.

The materials she uses vary according to her projects and the subsequent location or function of the piece. A few years ago, she stirred up a lot of controversy with a 2.47 metre phallus that she made with the intention of it becoming a public work and which, after much controversy and wandering, ended up in a private garden at Eden (Buda Parque) in Bombarral.

She is also the author of another public work called “Fontanário da Imperatriz” (Empress Fountain), the product of a partnership with S. Amaro, Brazil, a town twinned with Caldas da Rainha.

Umbelina Barros sells her work in her workshop and online. Curiously, 80 per cent of her clients are foreigners, even though they live here.