Interview with Ana Brotas

April 2018


1. How did you get the idea for the project on show? 

I am from Lisbon, however, since I was little I have been going on holidays to Sesimbra, a small fishing village in Portugal. Nowadays, I have an atelier in Sesimbra and an undoubtedly strong connection to this region.

The starting point for this project was the action of picking up findings (shells and stones)

at the beach, more particularly my personal experience of doing this with friends in Sesimbra. Although this is a widely common action, I frequently questioned the strangeness of its logic.

I was interested in the way value is given to these ordinary objects and the consequent need

to collect them. In retrospect, I wanted to somehow intervene in that process.



2. What are you currently working on? 


I have always been interested in material and aesthetic manipulation in order to tell stories.

By exploring a wide range of mediums and techniques, my practice becomes a pursue to find appropriate forms of storytelling, which lay between reality and fiction, simultaneously crossing the believable and the bizarre. 

Currently I am dealing with an increasing interest of a more scientifically informed approach.

New thematics arise, developed from a site-responsive opportunity to produce work in the Amazon Rainforest (Brasil). I find myself in the moment of revisiting these works, which operate within cameraless analogue photography. I have also recently presented some of these projects at the exhibition "Natura Sapiens" at Ibirapi Contemporanea gallery in Lisbon (Portugal).


3. What is the best part of being an artist?

In Portuguese, the verb “to be" can translate to two different words, one describing the permanent state or condition of to be, the other a more ephemeral quality of being. Although it is not a factor in primary survival, Art has always accompanied mankind as an underlying need to document, capture or express existences, real or imagined. It is, therefore, my strong belief that every human being has an inherited need “to be” an artist, either as an enduring or as a more transitory necessity. Personally, the decision to choose to be an artist in the permanent sense of the word

is to embrace a sometimes uncomfortable position of search. The best part is to be able to produce new narratives, which can reach out to an absolutely crucial aspect of personal and collective identity.

4. Are there any upcoming exhibitions where we can see your work? 

I strongly believe that for an artist to evolve, it is important to have the possibility to produce work in unfamiliar contexts which facilitate contact with fresh insights. Therefore, I feel fortunate that during the next few months I will have the opportunity to present work developed in several, very interesting, artist-in-residency contexts.

Between April and May, I have been accepted for the ADATA AiR program at Plovdiv (Bulgaria) to produce site-specific public work for the European Capital of Culture 2019.

On the 6th of June, I will be exhibiting with 5 other artists, as part of the FIGAC art residency at Viana do Castelo (Portugal). Lastly, in collaboration with the artist Xavier Ovídio and organized as part of “Projecto Pontes” by Luzlinar association, we will develop cross-disciplinary work between art and archeology, which will be presented in Fundão (Portugal).