BELLA SANTIAGO
ENGLISH
BIOGRAPHY
 
BIOGRAPHY

biografia_eng


BIOGRAPHY

Bella Santiago is from João Pessoa, state of Paraíba in Brazil.
She was born on December 7, 1953, and very early she showed interest for arts and literature. She was only six, when she started taking English and Classical Ballet classes. Ballet, her first artistic aspiration, she quit when she was 14. However, she kept studying English till she graduated. She wrote her first poem when she was 12 and while in high school she acted in some amateur theater. She has always liked drawing and searched the means that would best suit the expression of her artistic personality. Her interest for languages and culture from other countries led her to participate in a cultural exchange program in the United States, where she lived for some months in the year 1971. Brazil was living a military dictatorship, which restricted the access to the liberal thought and inhibited the divergent political positions. The time spent in the United States provided a direct contact with the hippie counterculture movement and the political protestations from the anti-racists and pacifists movements.

It was by that time that she met Marcuse, Eros and the Civilization, which definitely influenced her art and life. Back to Brazil, she started taking Literature at Universidade Federal da Paraíba, and interrupted it in 1975, for spending time in Paris. In Paris, she studied French and became 'educated' in Arts, as she likes to say, when she refers to that Parisian period in which she attended museums, galleries and bookstores. She resumed the Literature course in 1976 and graduated in 1978. By that time, Literature was already privileged among her previous artistic interests. Painting also remained as one of her favorite expression channels. 
The knowledge acquired in foreign languages, especially English, guided her professional activities. Her first job was in a governmental body, the Disclosure and Tourism Bureau of Paraíba State Government, where she started as a university intern and kept for some time, after finishing the course. Later, she moved to the city of Brasília, where she lived for seven years. There, she worked for some months at the Foreign Affairs Office and afterwards, at the Ministry of Education, where she stayed till she retired in 1999. 
Still living in Brasília, she started her Master's degree course in Literature (Theoretical Literature) at the Universidade de Brasília - UNB -, and finished it in 1983. The thesis she defended was about Graciliano Ramos's work. In 1992, she published her first poems book Paisagens do Coração (Heart Landscapes) and she received an award from the local press Prêmio Domingos Sávio, as a Discovery in Paraíba's Literature. In 1993, she published Poemas do Desmedido Amor (Poems of Unmeasurable Love), and in 1998, she published a novel Histórias da Arca da Velha (Stories of the Old Lady's Chest), which is already in the second edition (2003). Her texts are shown in anthologies of Paraíba's literature.
Since 1996, she has also dedicated her time to painting. She has already accomplished three individual exhibitions and participated in collective ones, in Brazil and abroad.