Born in Venezuela to Italian parents, raised and educated in Italy, and with an art degree earned in America, Dora Natella attributes her multicultural background as a major contributing factor to her art. A Fulbright Scholar, Natella is now an Associate Professor of Sculpture at the E.M. Raclin School of the Arts, Indiana University, South Bend. Natella exhibits her work locally, nationally, and internationally and her artwork is included in various public and private col- lections in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, Natella earned a Faculty Research Grant which allowed her to install her multisculptural piece Mutable Body at IU South Bend and Western Michigan University. Her sculptures Gaia and Overseer were included in Art Prize’s international outdoor/indoor competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, respectively. Natella won the Alex J. Ettl grant from National Sculpture Society in 2000 and became an Elected Sculptor Member in 2004.
She writes: Growing up in an artistically and historically rich environment gave me a wonderful jump-start as an artist; a first- hand, invaluable experience and insight into visual arts.
Everything from my childhood and my life as a teenager growing up in Italy, reappears in my art; the classical ballet training, my exposure to the art work and architecture of Italy’s ancient past, my academic training, and my involvement with body-art performances in the seventies. All of these elements contribute meaning to my art work today.
Over the last thirty years my scholarship of teaching and my studio practice have dovetailed very creatively. Since arriving at IU South Bend I have been dedicated to my art, my students, and my University. In 2012 I created a summer studio program in Florence, Italy for painting and sculpture which gives me the opportunity to share with my students my passion and knowledge of Italian Renaissance as a studio artist.
By living and studying in Florence for one month, students have a first-hand experience and insight into European history and art that are invaluable to cultural awareness.
Excerpts above from the November / December edition of Sculpture News