MW.SGM.247 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Acordes Naturais, 2018, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces, dimensions variable, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

Sonia Gomes

191028-Sonia Gomes PORTRAIT-ph Ana Pigosso-18-hr.png

Photography by Ana Pigosso

Details

Lives and Works in São Paulo
b. 1948, Caetanópolis

Sonia Gomes combines secondhand textiles with everyday materials, such as furniture, driftwood, and wire, to create abstract sculptures that reclaim Afro-Brazilian traditions and feminized crafts from the margins of history.

Juxtaposing tensile and slack forms, Gomes’s contorted sculptures exude a corporeality and dynamism that she attributes to her love of popular Brazilian dances. At the same time, her work’s vitality evokes the enigmatic animism of sacred objects used in the spiritual practices of Brazil’s African diaspora—rites that the artist witnessed her grandmother, a shaman, perform during her childhood. Born in the Brazilian city of Caetanópolis, a once-important manufacturing center for textiles, Gomes uses found or gifted fabrics, which, according to her, “bring the history of the people that they belonged to.” “I give a new significance to them,” she adds. Her assemblages thus tie Brazil’s historical trajectory to the long-disregarded narratives of women, people of color, and countless anonymous individuals.

Through its recycling of used fabric, Gomes’s work also evinces a principle of thrift that is both a consequence of Brazil’s rapid and uneven industrial development and a dissenting answer to its accompanying culture of wasteful consumption and environmental destruction. As a whole, her art is marked by a decolonizing impulse, providing oblique responses to the social inequities and ecological urgencies of present-day Brazil and, more broadly, a globalized world.

My work is black, it is feminine, and it is marginal. I am a rebel. I never worried about masking or stifling anything that might or might not fit standards of what is called art.

Sonia Gomes

MW.SGM.251 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Untitled, from Raiz series, 2018, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces on wire and wood, 25 1/4 x 39 3/8 x 29 1/2 in, 64 x 100 x 75 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

MW.SGM.270 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Boitatá (protetor das florestas), 2018, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces, 118 1/8 x 11 3/4 in, 300 x 30 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

MW.SGM.S.020.00.00 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Sem Título, da série Torções, 2012, costura, amarrações, tecidos diversos sobre arame e ferro, stitching, moorings, different fabrics and laces on wire, 189 x 74 x 84 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

MW.SGM.S.003.00.00 hr d1.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Memória, 2004, costura, amarrações, tecidos, rendas e fragmentos diversos, stitching, knots, different fabrics, laces and fragments, 140 x 270 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

MW.SGM.S.205 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Untitled, 2009, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces on wire, 44 7/8 x 104 3/8 x 19 3/4 in, 114 x 265 x 50 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist

MW.SGM.233 d0 - hr.jpg

Sonia Gomes, Untitled, 2005, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces on wire, 40 1/2 x 65 3/4 x 11 3/4 in, 103 x 167 x 30 cm, photography by Bruno Leão © Sonia Gomes, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and the artist