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A mystical Muse, Artist, Poet & Author:

Juliana Lopes de Souza, of Indian-Portuguese descent, was born in the slums in the city of Calcutta, West Bengal India. Educated in Loreto Convent Entally Calcutta by English, Irish and Indian Loreto Nuns. She cannot thank them enough for the best education they gave her. She showed keen interest in Reading, Poetry, Music, Sports and Arts. She won her first top award in Art at the age of eleven, when she sketched a ‘Fisherman and boat’. In her teens she was a keen sports girl and played Hockey and Basketball for the State of West Bengal in the Junior Women’s under seventeen’s championship. She sang ‘Amazing Grace’ alone at the age of around fourteen in the presence of Mother General from Ireland, in a hall packed with Nuns and her entire school. She took part as the ‘Coroner’ in the School Play Wizard of OZ and sang ‘Over the Rainbow’ and was also part of the special school Chapel choir, as she loved singing. She regrets not learning to play the Piano and has decided to make this her challenge for the next decade of her life.

There were many highs and lows in the country of her birth India circumstances that forced her to walk away from due to her marriage and in UK the surrogate country she made her home, a country she has grown to love and hate with equal measures. She is at the final stages of her autobiography of her experiences of life and marvels at the hand of fate or destiny.

She strongly believes that no religions or religious prophets should become targets for insults and humiliation in the name of Freedom of Speech. Taking life in the name of revenge is also very wrong. She was a near victim of a religious riot between the Hindus and the Muslims in India. Religious hatred and revenge and counter revenge has gone on since the beginning of time, when will mankind use their intellectual minds to rise above pettiness? She has since not forced religion on her three kids, and celebrates all religions having allowed them the freedom to choose their own religious path. All religions are good but what is done in the name of religion is what is bad. Following any path with a ‘good heart’ is all that matters.

She fell in love with the golden beaches of Goa, seeing the open seas for the first time in her life, where her maternal families were from, on her first visit to the gorgeous island. She lived with her Nana and helped run her grandma’s antique and crockery shop in the city of Mapsa. She studied in St Xavier’s College Mapsa, for two years and took part in the annual famous Goa Carnival and headed her college group of dancers as all the cities competed against each other. Those days of carefree laughter and silly fun were lost too soon.

She failed her second year exams in College due to family problems on coming to know that her real father was a Portuguese soldier called John Lopes. She became a very angry young adult and rebelled. Her rebelliousness propelled her into making many mistakes in her life and sleep depravation due to bouts of night terrors that would return unexpectedly even till date. She first left India to come to UK late 1980 for a six-month vacation. She returned to India to marry in 1981. Her two daughters were both born in Goa, and returned back to UK in 1986 with them after her late husband fell ill. She gave birth to her son in 1987 in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester where she has lived ever since. She has not returned to India for 28 years.

It is in Goa where she met the man who became her husband. A crippled extremely talented artist, seventeen years her senior. Her family and friends ostracized her. She was captivated with his talent and pitied his disabilities, and his struggle that worsened over time that forced him to take illegal drugs that drove him into fits of insane rage at his disabilities and pain. Despite his eccentricities, his addiction to illegal drugs, the violent psychologically, physically abusive marriage, she admired his gift in creating spectacular wildlife lifelike sketches and scenic paintings and could be compared to other old masters in the world of Art. She became his prisoner and her home became the prison. She bore the brunt of his severe mood swings and jealous rage, facing the double whammy of her gift and disastrous marriage pushing her to the brink of suicide a few times during her marriage, one to be saved by the gardener and maid when she attempted to jump off the ‘Lighthouse’, depicted is one of her paintings.

He died fourteen years later at the age of 42 with a fatal heart attack in 1993. She was unaware of his drug taking till a few years before his death. It was he who forced her to watch him paint and she did learn in addition to Art: many bitter lessons of life, marriage and infidelity. She was told by her late husband that she was the only person who could pick out the mistakes he made, talented as he was. She has been a widow and a single mum since 1993, her three children now aged 33, 31 and 28 yrs.

She briefly opened her own Music Management Company a few years ago and a Independent Recording label & Music Publishing company and the release of their first single co-written by her kids and herself that was folded in 2012 due to ill health after a hit and run car accident in 2005. She felt honored to be one of the judges for the Brit Award 2007 for a few years. Since childhood her love for poetry, saw her pen many and she converted some into songs, writing her own music and recently a lullaby dedicated to all her grandkids and uploaded it on ‘YouTube’ called Grandma’s lullaby. She took it down due to the abuse of intellectual copyrights as someone had begun to sell her lullaby illegally. She may re-launch the songs.

She now has a multi-cultural family. Her eldest daughter Sophia got married to a Christian man who is half Scottish and half English and they have given her the gifts of three adorable grandkids Lucas, Charlie and Layla. Her second daughter Melanie is married to a British Sri Lankan Buddhist her teenage sweetheart and she awaits more adorable grandkids. Her son Marcus is unmarried and in a new relationship with a Portuguese girl from Madeira. She is blessed with the love and protection of her kids and her son in laws. She couldn’t have wished for better husbands and extended families for her daughters and prays her son will settle down soon.

Dogged with her health issues since two hit and run car accidents, with damage to her lower spine, neck and knees unable to sit or stand for long period due to trapped nerves, she is determined to get her life back again. In 2012 after a gall stone operation nearly went wrong in UK she was operated upon twice in a week and dogged with on and off depression since and has returned to Art as a therapy. She has recently finished the oil painting of Alzeer the magnificent Arabian horse in the Royal stables in Qatar that has taken one year to complete due to illhealth. Her love for wildlife and conservation she has begun a series of wild life paintings to add to her collection.

Slowly but surely getting healthier mentally and physically as she continues on her path of spiritual growth as she reaches out to help as much as she can and guide those who are destined to cross her path. Motherhood has been the greatest challenge of her life and now enjoys being a Grandma. She continues to enjoy Music, Reading literature, Writing, Poetry, Art and Cooking as hobbies. She has created her own recipes for toddler’s range of food and a quick dry solution for Artists she hopes to launch soon with the help of her kids.

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