Parthenope, 2023

Up cycled and dyed fabrics, putty clay, foam clay, restoration powders, recycled cardboard, paper pulp,  paper clay

500 x 100 x 100 cm


Parthenope – a wall-based modular sculpture was created as a response to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goals 5, 11, and 12. 

The artwork embodies a neo-mythological reconfiguration of existing historical representations of The Parthenopean Siren of Naples (sea mermaid who’s own body was sacrificed to create the city of Naples) and Medusa’s severed head (known as a monstrous creature with snakes in her hair whose gaze turns men to stone). The work combines and re-structures both iconographies within gendered ideas of nurture, womanly sacrifice, and monstrosity, with the aim to expand on such symbolic narratives and bodily connotations. These elements have then been combined and unified to form a ‘soft’ body, a fluid and mutable representation of personhood. Shifting associations of strength from historical hard armoured bodies to what I call a ‘welcoming body’, qualified by its ability to adapt and preserving its ability to be reconfigured, reintegrating structural violence into new livelihood.

The artwork is a 5 metre tall hanging fabric of a body-like drape, all reclaimed and up cycled fibres have been hand dyed and soaked to absorb colour in different ways. During the production of the work the focus has been minimising and reducing the use of new and first hand materials, thinking about sustainable making processes and non mutually exclusive his/her/their/stories.




Maria Positano’s sculptural work weaves subjective world building and collective narrative production. Combining different material histories to enrich faceted notions of the artist’s own cultural belonging, Maria speculates on fictional ethnographic her/stories. Their present work stems from an interest in armour and defence objects, hybridising these with body extension and fragile feathered textures. Thinking about embodiment and vulnerability and current transnational political climates (war, pandemic infection, immigration crisis, climate crisis) allows the artist to re-structure ideas of resilience and resistance. Maria Positano completed their BA (Hons) in Sculpture at The City and Guilds of London Art School in 2018 with a First Class Degree and won the Madame Tussauds Project Fund and the end-of-year Sculpture Prize for excellence shown at the final degree show. They are currently completing an MA in Sculpture at The Royal College of Arts and due to graduate in July 2023. Their work has been shown internationally and has been acquired in private collections nationally and internationally. Positano was invited to work in various residency programs, recent ones include Mason&Fifth x Hyphastudios, London UK, and, Milan IT. Recent solo and group exhibitions include: A Perfect Place, M74, March 2022, Mexico City MX; Pigeon Park x Unfolding Traces at the Hangar Gallery, London, UK; Baggage Reclaim, Staffordshire St, 2023, London UK; The Appearance Formula, Andrea Festa Fine Art, 2022, Roma, IT; Karusiall, Lothringer13 Halle 2022, Munich, DE; Feria CLAVO Movimiento 2022, Presented by Galeria 54. Mexico City, MX. 



5 – Gender Equality

11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

12 – Responsible Consumption and Production