Manuela Papeians – art

Manuela is a sculptress of the human nature, a sculptress of joy, cheerfulness and emotion. One could even say a sculptress of femininity and generosity. In her work she likes to show the present moment, the continuing movement. Maybe just life?
Manuela tries to express wat is good and beautiful, like a balm to heal the sorrows of this world. Through her work, she wants to please others and herself.

year of birth: 1964

birthplace: Bruges

current residence: Brussels

started a long time ago. Drawing, modeling and sculpting have always been a part of her world. It’s in 2010 that she breaks with her previous activities to attend her first sculpting classes in Brussels.

Where did it all begin?

(thinks) In my head, in my dream, in my heart.

What is the worst advice you’ve heard?

Maybe I didn’t hear it or I forgot it? (laughs)

Most beautiful moment during the creative process?

In my work, I use clay. I like its contact, how you can bring a shape out of the mass. I like its flexibility and its slippery nature. A beautiful moment is when I shape it and see that it slips away and dancing curves appear, assert themselves. Who knows, maybe they appear to carry you away in your own dreams?

I like to give a kind of birth, to tell a story. 

Sculpting gave me a way to let myself go. I let my hands do the telling. It’s a real happiness.

What doesn’t inspire you?

Lack of freedom, violence, hate. But I prefer to talk about what inspires me. I watch, I observe, I soak up the images and sounds that are offered to me.  A smile, a cloud, the strange shape of a tree, the wind blowing, people in the city. I see, I hear, I dream. I imagine stories, or stories are told to me. Working with clay, my hands take over. My sculptures are my words.

What are you proud of?

I would say my family.

Who would you like to meet or who would you like to work with?

I’ve already met him, Sidi Larbi Sherkaoui. I would be so happy to dance but unfortunately I’m not really a dancer. (laughs)

Actually, this is a difficult question for me. There are so many encounters that I would like to have. But those that I end up preferring are the everyday ones, the simple encounter of the other. I could allude to the story of Little Thumb who, in order to bring his brothers home and to (re)find his way, sows little white pebbles. 

To me, the other is a small white pebble that shows me the way. The other is a determining encounter because he opens my eyes, he enlightens me, he upsets me, he asks questions, sometimes he disturbs me and he always leaves a trace in my life. 

I look behind me at all these white pebbles, all these others who have guided me and shaped me. And there’s the road that’s still in front of me with so many encounters, so many little white pebbles.

Favorite material?

So far I’ve been using clay, but one day I’ll carve wood. Or at least I hope so.

What would you have done, if not this?

Astronaut? Swimmer? Magician? Who knows.

Who is your biggest supporter?

Definitely Frederic, my husband.

Favorite image?

‘Human colony’ by Patrick Van Der Elst

I like the tree.  I like the life hiding behind it, the green. It makes me smile and feel good.

What is to you, the most beautiful sentence?

“Joy is the core of being, the golden foundation that most often covers our passing feelings” 

– Jacqueline Kelen

What do you still want to do?

So many things. (laughs)

Where do you work?

In a small room full of light, near my home.

I like to be there and sculpt, dream, listen to music. When I’m there, I’m always filled with wonderful feelings.

Want to see more of Manuela’s work?




If I were

If I were an animal, I would like to be a bird. To me it means freedom, elevation.

If I were a flower, I would like to be a daisy, so small and present, or a white lily, beautiful in its simplicity.

If I were a season, I would like to be the winter because after comes the spring.

If I were a part of the body, I would like to be the heart, it is life, it is love.

Who am I? I am Manuela.

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