Artist Anna Maria Maiolino is one of the most influential artists working in Brazil today but her life started in a very different place.
She was born in 1942 in southern Italy, raised by an Italian father and Ecuadorian mother. When she was 12 the family emigrated to Venezuela, which at the time was the only country still accepting migrants to settle there after the Second World War. The artist’s deeply formative migration from post-war Southern Italy to a politically unstable South America, and her linguistic passage from Italian to Brazilian Portuguese, engendered an enduring fascination with identity. Today her practice relentlessly explores notions of subjectivity and self through drawing, printmaking, poetry, film, performance, installation, and sculpture.
Anna Maria has lived a nomadic life from Rio de Janeiro, New York, and Buenos Aires to São Paulo where she has lived and worked since 2005. In recent years she has had several major retrospectives, including at Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo, SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, USA, and Whitechapel Gallery in London.
For more than 6 decades, she has explored the universal themes of fragility, hunger, migration, motherhood, resistance, love, and longing for something lost. Anna Maria found the vigour of life in making, and her art can be seen as an accumulation of experiences, not just the labour of the hand.
People speak of how her work is imbued with hope and represents the power of regeneration. Anna believes that the process of making teaches you what kind of person you are, helps to understand who you are, and that art is a form through which to make a more beautiful life.