I paint people, seeking to go beyond the surface of representation and bring out the
singular beauty and character of the individual, as well as his or her socio-cultural
identity. I paint directly from life and with natural light, ideally North light, which is
soft and stable. My work is a slow undertaking, done in collaboration with the person. It
is part of my ethnographic investigations.
I also draw social situations and interactions in light-hearted sketches and playful
I work on commission. Please contact me directly for inquiries.
As the offspring of abstract painter Josette Dacosta, I grew up with art, and in
museums and galleries.
In 2002, after obtaining my PhD in Social and Political Science at the European
University Institute, I focused on training in the fine arts. I studied at the Charles
Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy, and the Florence Academy of Art, to acquire the
techniques of naturalist-realist painting. I then went to Spain, where I painted with
Guillermo Muñoz Vera, in Madrid, and Antonio López García, in Pamplona.
I chose then to specialise in portraiting individual people, a testimony to the unique
humanity of each one of us. In 2008, I was commissioned to draw the portraits of 18
bertsulariak, Basque improvised-poetry singers of Iparralde, the northern/French
Wherever I go, I paint members of the Basque diaspora. Currently based in Jerusalem, my
models form part of the diversity of the region.
I do public performances of my portrait painting. With the audience, and in
collaboration with the persons who pose for me, we reflect on the process of
representation. Such performances have taken place in the American Natural History
Museum of New York City, the Chicago Arts Incubator, the Blanton Museum of Art in
Austin, Texas, and most recently in Jerusalem. Painting people from life invites
reflection on the face-to-face and the development of knowledge of the ‘other’.
2016. Willy Brandt Center, Jerusalem. ‘Portrait painting as fair perception’, workshop
for young students on painting each other.
2015. Beita, Social Based Art Center in the City, Jerusalem. Live portrait painting of
volunteer models in public over the course of one month.
2014. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, in collaboration with the Department of
Anthropology of the University of Austin, Texas. Live portrait painting of
anthropologist Katie Stewart (UT-Austin).
2013. Chicago Arts Incubator, Chicago, IL, with the collective Ethnographic Terminalia.
Live portrait painting of anthropologist Tom Blakely (Penn State University).
2013. American Natural History Museum, New York City, with the collective Ethnographic
Terminalia and the Mead Film Festival. Live portrait painting of the anthropologists
Fred Myers (New York University) and Audra Simpson (Columbia University).
2010. Ecole Supérieure des Technologies Industrielles, ‘24 heures d’innovation’. I
illustrated live the presentations of conference participants, projected in real time
on a big public screen.
2014. ‘Slow Ethnography’, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA.
2013 – 2014 ‘Identities’, Metro Gallery, Reno City Hall, NV, USA. Exhibition of recent landscape and portrait paintings.
2013. ‘Intimacy’, Sheppard Contemporary Gallery, Reno, NV, USA.
2013. ‘Seeing Ethnography’, American Natural History Museum, New York City, USA.
2011. ‘Lekuko jendea / Of People and Places’, History Museum of Biarritz, France.
2010. ‘Iparraldeko Bertsularien Portretak / Portraits of French Basque improvised singers’, Larraldea, Saint Pée sur Nivelle, and Xilaba, Saint Jean de Luz, France.
2010. ‘Realities / Errealitateak’, Sala Juan de Lizarazu, Urretxu, Spain.
2010. ‘Painting Reality / Errealitatea tintatzea’, La Rotonde Gallery, Saint Jean de Luz, France.
2013 ‘Exhibition as Residency: Art, Anthropology, Collaboration’, Chicago Arts Incubator, Chicago, IL, USA.
2013. ‘Open Spaces and Special Places: the art of conservation’, for the Nevada Land Trust, Wilbur May Museum, Reno, Nevada, USA.
2012. ‘Un Civil Liberties’, Rainshadow Community College, Reno, USA.
2012. ‘Itzal Aktiboaren Lagunak’, Gallery Dacosta, Saint Jean Pied de Port, France.
2011. ‘Bryanston Now’, The Gallery on Cork Street, London, UK.
2010. ‘Regards’, Museum of Guéthary, France.
2010. ‘Les magiciens de l’art au Pays basque’, Villa Ducontenia, Saint Jean de Luz, France.
2010. ‘Impulse: the choices of an art lover’, Gallery Dacosta, Saint Jean Pied de Port, France.
2010. ‘One world, two visions / Un Mundo, Dos Visiones’, Escuela de Música del Valle de Egués, Pamplona, Spain.
2014. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, with the Department of Anthropology of the University of Austin, Texas. ‘Slow Ethnography’.
2013. Chicago Arts Incubator, Chicago, IL, with the collective Ethnographic Terminalia. ‘Exhibition as Residency: Art, Anthropology, Collaboration’.
2013. American Natural History Museum, New York City, with the collective Ethnographic Terminalia and the Mead Film Festival. ‘Seeing Ethnography’.
2012. Dusty Roads Artists’ Residency, Saint Mary’s Art Center, Virginia City, NV, USA.
2008. Arteleku Contemporary Arts Center, San Sebastian, Spain.
2013. Junior Faculty Research and Artistry Grant, College of Liberal Arts, UNR, USA.
2012. Junior Faculty Research and Artistry Grant, College of Liberal Arts, UNR, USA.
2012. Scholarly and Creative Activities Grant, College of Liberal Arts, UNR, USA.
2009. Tintori Painting Scholarship, Florence Academy of Art, Italy.
2007. Prize for Best Young Painter, Town Hall of Saint Jean de Luz, France.
2006. Prize for Best Young Contribution to Basque Culture, Eusko Ikaskuntza and the City Hall of Bayonne, France.
2005. First Prize in landscape painting competition, Saint Palais, France.