Born in Rome, Italy, in 1965, Valentina Mazzei has lived in several countries and studied sculpture in non-formal education institutions in Rome, London, Paris and Guadalajara, Mexico. Her passion for sculpture runs parallel with her love for literature, and she was awarded a PhD in Late Medieval French Literature by the University of Sheffield (UK) in 2008.
Portraiture is her favourite theme, and her main influences are Roman portraiture and Medieval sculpture. She is currently working on a series of portraits of women writers whose work she admires.
Women of their Word 
This is an ongoing project featuring portraits of women writers from different countries and cultural backgrounds. I have given the project the title “Women of their Word”, as the women portrayed dedicated their lives to words, understood as writing, and in so doing they kept their word, that is, the promise of their immense talent, by overcoming difficulties and obstacles also created, or fuelled by, an androcentric society.
Women who are connected not only by talent, but also by lives that were never easy, tormented by physical or mental illness, but who, in spite (and almost by virtue) of these difficulties are elevated to icons and representatives of a struggle against the emotional fragility inextricably linked to the social obstacles that threaten to destroy not only the expression of female creativity, but the very right of women to have a voice.
In making these portraits I took inspiration, in terms of their function and portable size, from the guardian deities worshipped in ancient Rome as protectors of the household, the Lares and the Penates. While the Lares were associated with the spirits of dead ancestors , the Penates were originally protectors of the food provisions and of the storeroom, and by extension of the family. Their statuettes were placed in dedicated shrines in the house. The Penates were also worshipped publicly as  “protectors of the state and its basic needs”.
I associate the women writers portrayed in my project therefore with the spiritual nourishment necessary both for individual and social development, and with the function of ancestral guardian spirits, which in this case are protectors of values such as freedom of expression, both on an individual and a collective level.
While re-appropriating the classical form of the bust, so rarely dedicated to female subjects, I also intended to mitigate, through their small size, the temptation towards a rhetorical celebration preferring the more intimate setting of a private and personal devotion.
Carson McCullers in the World: A Centenary Conference
 “Artists Representing Carson,” an exhibition of portraits of Carson McCullers
14 - 16 July 2017
John Cabot University, Rome
Moved by Wonder
A symposium to mark the 50th anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s death

13 - 14 June 2014
John Cabot University, Rome
27° Edizione Lune di Primavera, 7° Mostra Premio d'Arte Contemporanea
12 - 19 May 2013
Chiostro Casa dell'Associazionismo, Via della Viola 1
MICRO - Rassegna di Arti Visive Contemporanee
“Tratti & Ritratti”
Galleria Borghese
piazza Garibaldi / Mentana (RM)
2 February 2013 h 10 -20
La Bellezza Interiore è di chi la contempla (Inner Beauty is in the eye of the beholder)
February 14 - March 10, 2012
Manifattura Domani
Piazza Manifattura, 1
Rovereto, Trento
Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O'Connor Among the Philosophers and Theologians
October 6 - 8, 2011
Loyola University Chicago
Virginia Woolf and the Natural World
An Exhibition in Conjunction with the 20th International Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf.
Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery, Georgetown College.
May 13 - June 9, 2010
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