Donatella Marcatajo, born in 1990, is an Italian-based painter. She’s self-taught and she inherites from her grand-father her painting skills. She started her artistic path with comics and illustrations, finding a personal way in watercolors and ink. Some of her works were selected for books illustrations. Her paintings are focused on the interiority of her soul, getting through and exploring depression, mental health and grief.
She studies languages and literatures at the University of Padua, with a focus on editorial translation from English and French to Italian, partecipating at recurring seminary and specific courses held by professionals from publishing houses.
ARTIST STATEMENT: My paintings are a journey into depression and mental health, exploring the states of mind and trying to make a sense of grief, loss and the uncontrollable flow of time. I strongly believe that art should be a means of expressing emotions and thoughts that, when kept silent, could make us succumb under their oppressive weight.
I suffered from anxiety, depression and panic attacks all my own life. I’ve been ashamed of them for many years and tried to suppress and ignore them by pretending that they didn’t exist, as the world told me to do, putting a beautiful mask on rot, until it takes everything away from you, leaving you in the dark, in the loss of yourself and your life.
Nobody can afford to judge the sorrow of others, nobody should arrogate to itself the right to tell them how they should feel and prevent them from expressing what they really feel. Art has always been one of the freest and most instinctive means that history has ever known for that.
In an era where one thinks only of showing everything but the truth, where negative sides and feelings are repressed to support a false but perfect appearance, I finally feel the need to externalize my natural sad feelings and leave them free on canvases to turn them into art. Seeing that someone else experiences or has experienced the same sensations for which you feel wrong and different, makes us feel understood, helps us to get out of it, in the end it even saves us.
I met Sylvia Plath in what I call “the years of my mournings”: a chain of losses of the pillars of my life, which have left me lacerated, broken, changed. You think you are used to grieving, you almost resign yourself to illness and loss, but it is never the same, you are always unprepared and lost in front of death.
I found a copy of The Bell Jar and Sylvia Plath’s Journals in the deepest moment of sadness, apathy, anger, horrible nightmares, insomnia, cramps and physical aches, intolerance for life and for being alive, and it saved me. Reading her words was like finding myself, it was a hand reaching out towards the abyss of depression in which I wallowed, it was feeling finally understood and, above all, accepted.
I therefore felt the need to feel free: free from pains of body and soul, free from oppressive thoughts and anxiety, also free from the patterns imposed by the sacred world of appearance. I started to break everything that tied me to the past, starting with art, and I created the first abstract painting, in which finally my darkness and my colors flowed together on the canvas, mixing with each other and with the overlaying figure. I found the way to create from grief, as she did, to take anxieties, depression, pains and make something good out of it.