Mari Gomes

I’m a nurse, with a postgrad in Cardiology; I worked in the Heart Institute hospital in Sao Paulo for 10 years. Then a wave of wanderlust overcame me after with 2 job offers, one was as a coordinator of an ICU in the northeast of Brazil and the other as part of a Brazilian medical team to teach in Luanda (Angola). I wanted to improve my English and learn French to work as a nurse for the UN. I spent 31/2 years in Ireland and a wee while in France.

I used to go to the Louvre Museum, or Orsey’s Museum, Rodin’s museum, also went to Monet’s house and heaps of art galleries around Paris, plus sketching the Eiffel tower and Louvre, working with pastels and pencil. I did a drawing course in Brazil at ABRA – Academia Brasileira de Artes ( Brazilian Academy of Arts).

Well, the UN idea faded away, so, after searching things about English-speaking countries, I decided to come to NZ. In Ireland, I looked after a man who was a teacher of the Dublin Art College; I learned a lot with him and he encouraged me to come and fulfil his dream.

Nowadays, I work in a Retirement Village as a caregiver. Some time ago, I met Julia McNaughton, who asked to see some of my artwork. I do art with the residents
as a volunteer on my days off. I didn’t know that I could do painting, figured it
out last year with the residents which was an absolutely fantastic experience!
I’m trying to learn painting on my own, every single medium! Julia saw my artwork and encouraged me to do some more and apply to become a member of the Otago Art Society.

I went to the Art Society one day and met John Schofield. If I’m here nowadays, I
have to thank Julia and John for their encouragement.