“Art,” said Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges, “always opts for the individual.” Perhaps this adage helps resolve the mystery of how one of Argentina’s more artistic daughters, Paola Zakimi, though hailing from a land lush with fine wine, honey, and sunflowers, would see fit to focus her talent on the simplest of subjects: the human expression. With numerous paintings that center on the faces of children and young ladies, faces caught between fear and intuition, as in Rosita; naivete and anticipation, as in Retrato; and wariness and curiosity, as in Clara, the artist connects to us through the eyes of her subjects as if tuning us magically to the secrets of her heart. We may not know the story in each, but we know the story it tells to us, and thus the image pours out an infinite number of stories, like an Argentine waterfall endlessly replenishing the river beneath.
In addition to her way with faces, however, Zakimi carves out a considerable niche with her handcrafted art dolls. From the regal bearing of Anastasia, adorned in a hand-embroidered muslin dress dyed with jasmine tea, to the doleful countenance of the finely-detailed Koka Mola, each of the many originals in her gallery is captivating in its own way. And if all this weren’t enough to convince us of her gift, she shows quite a flair for watercolor as well in the charming My Lovely Tree. In summary, there is very little Paola Zakimi can not do. And if you happen to love her paintings, dolls, or other media, one thing you, our reader, can do is enter this giveaway. The winner will receive a free print of Sofi and the Fish, an endearing image of childhood in which Sofi, like an angel bestowing a blessing, reaches out of her boat to touch a curious fish. To enter, visit Holli.etsy.com, then come back here to tell us about your favorite piece in Paola's collection. Tell us in an additional post if you subscribe to Wishing Willow, follow us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, and "tweet" about the giveaway. To post without a Google account, just click “anonymous.” Be sure to also leave your email address. Contest ends 2/21/09. We have our winner: Congrats Puffluna!