Mariana Chiesa Mateos was born in La Plata in 1967, where she studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Plata and graduated in 1992. She worked as an illustrator for the Argentinian newspaper »Clarin« and other periodicals from 1993 before moving to Barcelona in 1997. Her work is extraordinarily diverse and covers various media, from embroidery through painting to comics.
Mariana Chiesa Mateos has illustrated various books which have not yet been translated into English or German. She contributed to the anthology »Mis Primeras 80,000 Palabras« (2002; t: My First 80,000 Words), for which 231 illustrators from 20 countries were asked to illustrate their favourite word, using at most two colours. The resulting book can be seen as an impressive snapshot of the current state of the international illustration scene. Mariana Chiesa Mateos also had the honour of providing the cover illustration for »Mis Primeras 80,000 Palabras«.
She illustrated »No Hay Tiempo Para Jugar – Relatos de Niños Trabajadores« (2004; t: No Time to Play – Working Children Talk About Their Lives), by the Mexican writer Sandra Arenal Huerta. The book confronts the terrible living conditions of working children and youths, who were interviewed by Sandra Arenal Huerta about their lives and dreams. The interviews gathered in the book present a shocking panorama of the horizons of the children and young people, which shift between rational analysis, pure desperation and deluded blindness to the realities of their own situation. Mariana Chiesa Mateos’s illustrations for »No hay tiempo para jugar« are expressive, starkly contoured linocuts, which form a strong and cohesive whole with the dramatic content of the book. Her pictures for the book were exhibited at the 2003 Bologna International Children’s Book Fair.
In the book »Migrando« (2010; t: Migration), which she developed in collaboration with Amnesty International, her stark and greatly reduced images tackle another pressing problem of our times – the treatment of people who flee their home countries for political reasons and seek asylum in a foreign country. In »Migrando«, the illustrator relies entirely on the imaginative, suggestive function of her images and discards all supporting text. She thus succeeds in creating a portrait of people who seem to be unable to find a home, an approach which is as radical as it is thoughtful.
Mariana Chiesa Mateos has been awarded the »White Raven«, as well as an »Special Mention« (2005) by the International Children’s Library in Munich. She lives with her partner and daughter in Bologna.
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