Maria da Conceição de Moura Borges – Kukas, was born on May 5, at Quinta de Santa Marta, in Beira Baixa, Portugal.
Studies at Colégio Santa Maria in Torres Novas.
Studies at Liceu Rainha Dona filipa de Lencastre, Colégio Parisiense and Colégio Académico, in Lisbon – at this stage “a cer- tain skill not particularly for drawing yet for the sense of color, chromatic harmony was revealed.”
Considers going to Law School – “it was (her), perfectly metaphorical, idea to do justice to the world.” Kukas gave up this intent, due to a prolonged illness, and during this gap rethought about her life, having opted for something more direct and immediate. Kukas chose to undertake a course of family Education, in Lisbon, where Cooking, Child Care, History of Art and Ceramics were taught.
After the course, she began to make completely different pieces of pottery – “but it was not a field that satisfied her, though she sold everything she made and it was important for her, especially due to the contact with the matter.” Attends private Drawing lessons with the Painter and Etcher José Júlio.
Studies at the Sociedade de Gravura4, in Lisbon. Attends Sculpture classes with the Sculptor Martins Correia.
Leaves for Paris to study Art Education, yet opted for the Course of Interior Design, at the École Supérieure des Arts Modernes. Regularly visits the Galerie du Siècle, on the Boulevard St. Germain in Paris, to see the Nordic design objects exhibited there. Attends figure Drawing classes at La Grande Chaumière, in Paris.
Internship in Art Education at the Louvre, where she meets the painter Marc Chagall, who invites her to the opening of his great retrospective in Paris.
Visits the Pre-Columbian Jewellery exhibition in Paris – “which weighed on her interest in jewellery, revealing the technical and emotional nobility, beyond ostentatious senses…”
During the period in Paris, meets regularly with other Portuguese artists living there, namely Lourdes Castro, Rene Bértholo, João Vieira and José Escada.
finishes the course of Interior Design at the École Supérieure des Arts Modernes in Paris. After finishing the course, has several job offers in this city, namely to work in a decoration shop, yet refuses, and for emotional reasons, returns to Portugal.
Starts her work in Interior Design, which financially supports her, yet gradually feels unmotivated. Experiments with techniques of painting on silk and ceramics, developing some work that she shows and sells in the painter Menez’s shop, on Rua Nova do Almada, in Chiado. Designs her first piece of jewellery and contacts the master Goldsmith António Jordão, then a teatcher at António Arroio Art School, to produce it. However, and due to the innovation of this piece, the goldsmith himself suggests that Kukas should make it herself, inviting her to do so in his workshop. After this experience master Jordão made all her pieces until 1974.
Creates her studio at home where she draws and plans her jewellery pieces. During this period she works alone in Portugal, as an artist/designer in the field of jewellery, and feels completely isolated.
António Garcia and Daciano da Costa are the first people with whom she discusses design in Portugal.
From November 29 to December 12, has her 1st Solo Exhibition Jóias de Kukas at Galeria Diário de Notícias in Lisbon at the invitation of faria de Carvalho. She exhibited sixty-eight pieces and a catalogue with a text by Maria José de Mendonça was edited. The exhibition was a success, both in terms of reviews and sales. All the pieces exhibited were sold.
On November 30, a review on her exhibition at the Galeria Diário de Notícias, came out in the newspaper Diário de Notícias, entitled “Seeking Remote inspiration – Kukas presents a new style of Jewellery.”
In february, the essay “The Jewels of Kukas,” by fernando Pernes is published in the mag- azine Revista de Pensamento e Acção – O Tempo e o Modo.
In August, she takes part in the “first Congress of Craftsmen,” in New York and does an internship with Irene Bruguer at the Craft Center in Brookfield, Connecticut, with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation. She participates in a group exhibition at Columbia University in New York in the context of this congress.
She took advantage of her trip to the United States to travel 24,000 kms, during four months, on the Greyhound lines, drawing a route through South America with stops in Mexico.
In December she exhibits seventy-five pieces at the Galeria Divulgação in Lisbon. In the context of the exhibition, the Architect Duarte Nuno Simões wrote an essay on her work.
On January 6, the interview “The Purpose of Modern Jewellery | Dialogue with Kukas,” is published in the Jornal de Letras e Artes, where the creator explains her path in jewellery and contextualizes her work in view of the Arts of the time.
In April, she exhibits alone, for the third time, at the Galeria Divulgação in Porto. In November, the essay “Kukas’ Jewellery” by fernando Pernes about this exhibition is released, in Colóquio magazine, published by the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation. Participates in the exhibition “Portugal”, in Rio de Janeiro, organized by the Ministry of foreign Affairs.
In December, she exhibits fifty-five pieces at the Galeria Interior – Centro Português de Tapeçaria, belonging to the architect Conceição Silva. For this exhibition, a brochure is published with a text by the artist and essayist Ana Hatherly.
Designs the pieces of jewellery worn by the actress Eunice Muñoz in the play Fedra, by João Avillez, produced by the Teatro Experimental de Cascais.
In April, the article “The Jewellery of Kukas” is published in the magazine Eva.
Manuel de Brito invites Kukas to hold a solo exhibition from June 26 to July 13 in Galeria 111 in Lisbon. The jewellery exhibition is called Kukas and innovates in the way in which the artist installs the pieces in the space, inside transparent acrylic globes, creating a huge impact on the public and media. This exhibition, her fourth solo show, clearly depicts the transition from an archaeological and organic phase to a more industrial and geometric phase.
On July 4, the interview “Kukas: the renewal of jewellery” is published in the Diário de Lisboa newspaper, as a result of the success of the exhibition at Galeria 111.
Her work is represented by the Galerie La Cloche in Paris.
Kukas declines the invitation of the Painter Carlos Botelho to participate in the IV Art Salon, at the Secretaria Nacional de Informação, where the National Prize of Jewellery would be awarded. In addition to Alberto Gordillo, who won, Aida furtado, francisco Lhamo, Jorge Mealha and Zeca Mealha and Segismundo Peres-Ramires participated in the Jewellery field.
On December 17, the solo exhibition Kukas opens at Galeria 111, in Lisbon.
On January 29, the television programme Dimensão, on RTP, dedicated to the Visual Arts, interviews the creator in her studio in Lisbon. The news in the Diário Popular newspaper refers that “The Programme produced and directed by António Botelho and José Elyseu, presents as a background theme, a developed reference to the renewer of modern art jewellery, Kukas, who asserts herself by her artistic quality and the intention she has success- fully imprinted in her work, integrating the production of jewellery into current aesthetics.”
At the invitation of the Architect Diogo Pimentel and the Architect Nuno Teotónio Pereira, from the MRAR Group – Movimento de Renovação da Arte Religiosa, she designs from this date a series of Sacred Art objects, namely candlesticks, rings for bishops and a shrine for the Chapel at Colégio Cidadela in Cascais.
Begins to produce her pieces in the workshop of goldsmith Manuel Pinto de Lima in Lisbon.
Participates in the exhibition Artistas Portuguesas: the various ways for a woman to be an artist in Portugal and when face to face give us the certainty that the paths are multiple and are all valid. When authentic – with Ana Hatherly, Ana Vieira, Salette Tavares and Paula Rego, among many other Portuguese artists – at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes from January to february in Lisbon, and at the Calouste Gulbenkian Cultural Centre in Paris, from March to April.
Exhibits at the São Paulo Art Biennial and at the National Museum of fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. A review on her exhibition in Rio de Janeiro is published in the magazine of the Última Hora newspaper.
Exhibits at the Galeria Série in Madrid.
The shop Kukas opens on Praça das flores, N.o 57 – the first jewellery design and art jew- ellery shop in Lisbon. She is part of the jury, as representative of the Secretary of State for Culture, for the first National Contest of Gold Jewellery, an initiative of the International Gold Corporation (InterGold), “which aimed to stimulate the creativity of Portuguese designer artists and goldsmiths in search of new forms in the field of jewellery.” At this time she begins to produce her pieces in the workshop of the goldsmith Acácio fernandes da Silva & filhos Lda, in Lisbon, with whom she regularly worked until 1999.
On July 1, the exhibition Kukas – Jóias e Objectos, opens in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery at the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation in Lisbon. She exhibits one hundred and three pieces. for this exhibition, a catalogue with a foreword by the writer António Alçada Baptista and the poet, essayist and visual artist Salette Tavares is published.
Following this last exhibition, three interviews are published: on July 4, “In search of innovation and authenticity – Kukas exhibits jew- ellery and objects at the Gulbenkian” in the newspaper A Capital; on July 6, “Kukas, a name for certain jewels”, conducted by Maria Antónia fiadeiro, in the Jornal de Letras, Artes e Ideias; and on July 23, “Twenty years reinventing Portuguese jewellery”, in the newspaper O Dia, conducted by Margarida Botelho. A review is also released – “Jewellery, objects and above all a woman” – by Vera Lagoa, in the newspaper O Diabo.
The interview “Kukas: jewellery in person,” conducted by Christina Autran and with a photograph by José Manuel Costa Alves is published in the 4th issue of the magazine Destaque.
In June, the exhibition “Kukas – Jóias e Objectos” opens at the Galeria Gilde, in São Torcato, Guimarães, at the invitation of Luís Teixeira da Mota. This is her eighth solo exhibition, in which she brings together one hundred and twenty jewels and objects. On this occasion, a catalogue with twenty drawings of
her pieces, by the sculptor Pedro Ramos, with texts by the writer Alçada Baptista, by the po- et, essayist and visual artist Salette Tavares and by Kukas herself is published. Simultaneously, in another dependency of the same gallery, a group exhibition of paintings by Carlos Calvet, Cruzeiro Seixas, Graça Morais, Guima, Jorge Martins, Lima de freitas, Mário Américo, Nadir Afonso and Teixeira de Vasconcelos is on show. following this exhibition, the interview, “Behold the Jewels in the field” conducted by Madalena fragoso is published in the newspaper Semanário.
Exhibits at the Ringeling Gallery in Rotterdam. In the context of this exhibition a catalogue is edited with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation.
Is invited to sit on the jury of the Culture and Development Competition in the field of Jewellery, sponsored by the Instituto da Juventude. In addition to Kukas, Tereza Seabra and a representative of the Youth Institute make up the jury.
On January 3, an interview entitled “Kukas – No sad Jewels “ in the newspaper O Tempo, conducted by Paulo David is published.
Participates in the show FIDEM – International Art Medal Exhibition, with two medals: Lake Shore Drive and Organic Heart.
Isabel Silveira Godinho, director of the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, invites her to develop the jewellery exhibition project inspired by the col- lections of the Palace on the occasion of Queen Maria Pia’s birthday. The exhibition A Tribute to Queen Maria Pia (1847/1911) shows forty-seven pieces, of which those inspired by the collections of the Palace deserve to be highlighted, and in particular the Savoy knot, the symbol used by the House of Savoy. Opens on October 16th in the Room of the Queen’s portrait.
Participates in the Culture Fair at fIL – feira internacional de Lisboa.
Participates in FIDEM – International Art Medal Exhibition, in Colorado Springs, USA. Kukas opens a second shop with her name, on Rua do Sacramento, in Chiado, Lisbon. In addition to her creations, the shop displays and sells pieces by other national and inter- national authors. for differences in taste and
policy management between partners, this project closed approximately a year later. In April, the article “Jewellery Very Well it Looks like Gold” by Inês felgueiras e Sousa is published, with the chapter “Kukas – 52 Years old, 26 Years of Activity – Autonomy of form” in Elle Magazine, and in September, the article “Kukas: The fascination of the form”, in Marie Claire Magazine and the interview “Kukas signs Jewellery and Objects” in Máxima magazine, conducted by Maria Antónia fiadeiro.
Around this time she also starts to produce her jewels in the workshop of the goldsmith José António Nunes Pedro in Lisbon The exhibition fIDEM, in which she partici- pated, tours to Helsinki, finland.
from November 14 to December 10, partici- pates in the 1st International Jewellery Symposium, sponsored by the Museu Nacional do Traje, exhibiting at the British Council Art Gallery in Lisbon, with Alberto Gordillo, Alexandra Serpa Pimentel, Ana Campos, Ana fernandes, Cristina filipe, filomeno, Guta, Maria José Oliveira, Paula Crespo and Tereza Seabra. Participates in the exhibition Prestige and Quality, promoted by ICEP – Institute for foreign Trade of Portugal, in Madrid.
At the invitation of francisco Noronha Andrade, President of Servitas de Nossa Senhora de fátima, she designed a reliquary medal containing pieces of the oak where Our Lady appeared from May to October 1917 to offer to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Portugal.
Participates in the collective exhibition The Portuguese Medal in the twentieth century, in Brussels, held under EUROPÁLIA and curat- ed by Carlos Baptista da Silva. It involved many artists from different generations and fields.
Exhibits at Concert Noble in Brussels.
Exhibits at the Palais des Congrès in Paris and the Hotel des Indes in The Hague. From 3-31 October, exhibits individually at the Galeria Évora Arte in Evora.
Represents Portugal in the group exhibition Profile Portugal promoted by ICEP – foreign Trade Institute of Portugal. This touring ex- hibition was held in the following locations: Concert Noble Gallery, Brussels, Palais des Congrès Gallery, Paris, Beurs van Berlage Gallery, Amsterdam, Royal College of Art Gallery in London and Borssalen Borsen, Copenhagen. In this event, Kukas exhibited alongside other designers and artists includ- ing: Alexandra Serpa Pimentel, Ana Campos, Augusto Alves da Silva, filipe Alarcão, Pedro Casqueiro, Paula Crespo, Pedro Calapez Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Pedro Silva Dias, José Pedro Croft, Teresa Vaz and Tereza Seabra.
In November, the solo exhibition Kukas, at the Museu Nacional de Traje, was part of the pro- gramme of the 2nd International Jewellery Symposium, promoted by Madalena Braz Teixeira.
Around this time she closes the first Kukas shop, on Praça das flores, after more than a decade of great success, due to differences in the company that managed it.
As part of the great retrospective exhibition of landscape artist Silva Porto, promoted by the Instituto Português dos Museus, held at Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis, in Porto, the then Director Simonetta Luz Afonso invites Kukas to design a piece alluding to the artist’s work. The creator makes a set of twelve leaves with different morphologies that could be used individually as pins.
At the invitation of Maria Áurea Troçolo, she occupies a part of the design shop Arte Bruta, on Rua do Século, in Lisbon, where she shows and sells her pieces.
Exhibits objects at the Galeria Quatro, in Leiria. A lengthy interview entitled “Kukas” is pub- lished in the magazine Relógios e Jóias.
Creates the brand MBL – Jewellery and Objects Ltd., with her niece Sofia Moura Borges. The brand aims to industrialize her objects in steel and nickel-plated brass, to ensure durability and to increase production. The pieces continue to be signed and credentialed with the artist’s name.
She sells her objects in the shops Domo, Arte Bruta and Altamira. Participates in fairs and design shows, where she promotes and sells her work.
Participates in the 1st Leiria Biennial of Contemporary Art ‘97, exhibiting at the Galeria Museu da Imagem in the José Lúcio da Silva Theatre and at Galeria Quatro, alongside Nikias Skapinakis, Pedro Proença, among others.
On August 19, the interview “A pioneer in the field of Portuguese design of jewellery and objects,” is published in the VIP Jóias magazine, conducted by Pedro Justino Alves.
Opens the new Kukas shop on Rua de São Bento, N.o 302/304, with the support of the Lisbon City Council, which temporarily lends her a municipal space, closed for more than twenty years, with the exciting counterpart of creating a small workshop that would provide conditions for young artists to train and gain work experience. Kukas “is reborn from the ashes,” after seven years of hard mourning after the closing of her first space on Praça das flores. Thus she resumes the contact with her audience in a more direct way making her mark again in a new space that once again marked Lisbon for its innovation and quality.
The ICEP – foreign Trade Institute of Portugal promotes the exhibition Portugal: Memory of the Future, Culture, Fashion, a People, at the Galeria C. A. ABC Serrano, in Madrid, and Kukas exhibits jewellery, once again, next to filomeno Pereira de Sousa, Ana Silva e Sousa, Alexandra Serpa Pimentel, Paula Crespo, Pedro Cruz, Tereza Seabra, Augustus, Manuel Alves and José Manuel Gonçalves, Maria Gambina, Ana Salazar, José António Tenente, Marília Maria Mira, Nininha Guimarães dos Santos, Inês Nunes, Marco Sousa Santos, João Martins, Cristina filipe, filipe Alarcão, Rui Sanches, Rita filipe and fernando Brízio.
In february, the interview “Kukas – Designing different and very original pieces,” is published in Caras magazine, conducted by Isabel Pereira, and also the article “The two passions of Kukas: jewellery and the joie de vivre,” by Carlos Oliveira.
In May, the article “The Soft Glow of Metal” by Maria do Carmo Martins is published, on the opening of her new shop on Rua de São
Bento, with photographs by Manuel Aguiar, in Casa Cláudia magazine. In December she celebrates the first anniver- sary of her new space on Rua de São Bento with the painting exhibition of francisco Noronha de Andrade.
On December 4, an interview entitled “ Kukas’ Boundless Imagination,” is published in the magazine of the Semanário newspaper, con- ducted by Carla Rodrigues.
From May 6 to June 3, participates in the ex- hibition Images for the Poetry of Virginia Victorino, at the Galeria Conventual in Alcobaça.
Carlos Pissarra, Director of Lux magazine, in- vites Kukas to exhibit objects at the Lux Deco event, at the Gare Marítima de Alcântara, Lisbon. Kukas’ stand was designed by the ar- chitect Cristina Santos Silva.
The company Mandala – Video Productions invites Kukas to design a trophy, for the programme Dança Comigo.
There is a fire on the top floor of the building where the Kukas Shop was located on Rua de São Bento and Kukas is obliged to close. She waits two years for the building works by the Lisbon City Council, but they never happen and the shop does not reopen.
Designs the “Condor” trophy for APIT – Association of Independent Television Producers.
From this date, she exclusively works with the goldsmith Akhsar Jatievi (Peish, Geórgia) to make her pieces.
From february 14 to March 8 she participates in the Jewellery Exhibition of the City of Lisbon, in the Galeria Hibiscos, in the same city. Kukas exhibits alongside Alberto Gordillo, as representatives of the 1960s, in a show that intends to be a retrospective of the History of Jewellery in Portugal.
In May, the article “The city at her feet” appears in the 20th anniversary commemorative issue of the magazine Casa Cláudia – in the Designer’s House section – by Cristina
Cordeiro, with photographs by Giorgio Bordino and Rodrigo ferreira. This article was initially published in 1990, in the edition n. 29.
Is part of the Jury of the VIP Jewellery Competition, sponsored by the magazine with the same name.
Is honoured by the VIP Jóias magazine, for the 40th anniversary of her career and is once again invited to be part of the jury VIP Jewellery Competition promoted by this magazine.
Kukas resides and has her studio in her home on the Castle Hill, in Lisbon, where she presently works, in collaboration with the gold- smith Akhsar Jatievi and with her customers / collectors and friends.
Kukas resides and has her studio in her home on the Castle Hill, in Lisbon, where she presently works, in collaboration with the gold- smith Akhsar Jatievi and with her customers / collectors and friends.
Start of the Kukas by Casa Fortunato project.
After a few years of working together, Casa Fortunato created the Kukas space in its studio acting as its ambassador, ensuring that its story continues into the future. Beautifully made objects, sculptures that spark the imagination and paintings that bring meaning are the natural pillars of the Casa Fortunato studio and something we like to foster, supporting young talents and those legacy heroes alike.
The case of Kukas, a 95-year-old Portuguese designer who is a prolific creator and contemporary artist who shapes the art scene, presented itself as a wonderful opportunity to leave her legacy.
Become a member of APA – Portuguese Antiques Association as a way of entering in the artistic and design scene by participating in the LAAF – Lisbon Art and Antique Fair 2022 and 2023 and the Autumn Fairs of 2022 and 2023.
Cronology credits by Cristina Filipe, September 2011
In catálogo da exposição Kukas: Uma nuvem que desaba em chuva (página 133)
MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda, Colecção Francisco Capelo
e INCM – Imprensa Nacional Casa da Moeda
Scientific design and coordination Cristina Filipe
Editorial coordination Rita Rodrigues
Institutional text Catarina Vaz Pinto
Essay Bárbara Coutinho, Cristina Filipe, Kukas
Graphic design Nuno Vale Cardoso + Nina Barreiros
Format 29×14,5cm \ 160 p.