The bag as a canvas, a collaboration with Shirley Villavicencio Pizango


Shirley Villavicencio Pizango x Lies Mertens

Shirley Villavicencio Pizango used 10 Mariko bags to make unique paintings on. The leather handbags became a canvas for the artist to play with, which resulted in a series of 10 unique self-portraits, moving at the intersection of design and art. Each bag is painted by hand and signed by the artist. 

On Saturday the 19th of June 2021 Shirley painted 10 bags live in our flagship store in Antwerp. 

This collaboration was made possible with support of gallery Geukens & De Vil. 

About Shirley Villavicencio Pizango

Shirley Villavicencio Pizango is a Ghent-based artist born in Lima. Using acrylic paint and adding vivid colours, her paintings feel spontaneous and expressive. Being inspired by the cross-over between her South-American roots and life in Belgium, she creates powerful and in sync pieces with the current zeitgeist. The way her portraits are able to make direct eye contact with their viewers is mesmerizing.

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received (and would like to give your younger self)? 

Don’t let your self-esteem be defined by others. Learn to love yourself. 

Where do you go to escape? 

To my studio, I escape everyday from reality and go to my own world in my studio.

What is a dream project for you? 

An exhibition of my ceramics/sculptures, it’s a side project but I can’t wait to be able to finish it. And also doing a performance. 

What does your current playlist sound like?

Latin, and with a sparkle of classic music.

What’s your favourite Lies Mertens bag? 

I have two favorites, the Eline and the Lien. Between them two... I think the Lien.

What kind of bag person are you?

It depends, sometimes I’m in the mood for sending letters, then I carry more than the normal, which is also a lot anyhow.  So when I am in that mood I carry a pencil case, envelopes and my personalized stamps.

In general, I always take my agenda with me. Sunglasses, a toothbrush, and make up as well. I love lipsticks from Laura Mercier because they are mat. Two small perfumes. Cream with UV protection. My wallet and keys. Sometimes I also put my analog camera in, but most of the time I carry it around my neck.