Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Mother Earth springs to life at the MFA

Isabella Tecchio
Dinora Justice’s “Portrait 51, after Delacroix’s Woman of Algiers” on display at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Brazilian-American artist Dinorá Justice displays nature and feminism-inspired artwork at the Museum of Fine Arts from Nov. 18, 2023–April 14 and on Newbury Street at Gallery NAGA, bringing locals and tourists alike closer to the Earth.

Justice incorporates the idea of Mother Earth in many pieces as her connection to the environment and women.

Taking historic paintings such as “La Grande Odalisque”, and “Olympia,” the Newton-based artist reworks them and compares the mistreatment of women to the abuse of the environment.

“Landscape painting has historically occupied a low status in art, much like nature and women occupy in society,” said Justice in her artist statement.

Justice uses chita fabric, a popular floral printed fabric that is often cotton, geometric and brightly colored, from South America. According to a NAGA employee, she collects these fabrics, many with cultural meanings from her childhood. These patterns give her pieces, as said in her artist statement, “abundance and harmony.”

Andrea Dabrila, from Gallery NAGA, said Justice hand-marbles her canvas, a technique usually used in paper and book-binding. Justice said the collage-type work is, “purposefully decorative, celebrating the femininity and creativity of marginalized processes and aesthetics.” 

Giving the work movement, Justice said this practice in the background of the paintings shows “ecofeminism,” which is the idea that nature is connected with everything.

Currently, the MFA has an incredible selection of Justice’s pieces on display. It is hard to miss; straight through the glass doors, her paintings are visually captivating, and bright colors can be seen from a distance away.

Sculptures, almost like small dolls, are displayed in the center of the exhibit, taking inspiration from the MFA’s multi-region work from Egypt, Italy, Cyprus and more. It shows a mix of human and animal characters.

As said on the exhibit label, this represents fertility and life cycles, as well as the figures shown to continue her idea of earth and woman combined. She uses clay for these figures, which is another motif for the environment today.

In Justice’s “Portrait 36”, modeled after Edouard Manet’s “Olympia,” the marbled canvas can be seen, as well as two women. She reclaims Manet’s work, a painting done in 1863 looking at a woman depicted as a prostitute, which caused a scandal at the time. Interestingly, Manet took reference from, “Venus of Urbino,” by Titian, another reclaimed painting Justice reworked.

Her latest exhibit “Mother/Nature” was held in Gallery NAGA, and her current exhibition “The Lay of the Land” will be on display until this coming April. Gallery NAGA represents Justice and is open to sharing information about her pieces. They also hold amazing pieces from a range of artists.

Justice has won several awards, including the Solo Exhibition Award at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Painting. 

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  • J

    John EskowFeb 22, 2024 at 9:55 pm

    A beautiful description of what sounds like very powerful artwork.

  • D

    Dinorá JusticeFeb 22, 2024 at 9:43 am

    Thank you for writing so positively about my paintings, I appreciate it!

  • A

    Andrea DabrilaFeb 21, 2024 at 9:24 am

    Thanks Isabella!