Sonia Gomes
(Caetanópolis, Brazil, 1948)

Untitled, from Raízes series #2, 2020

Stitching, moorings, different fabrics and laces on wood
160 x 20 x 23 cm
[Photo: Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio, © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy Pascale Marthine Tayou and GALLERIA CONTINUA, by SIAE 2021]

Sonia Gomes, developing an artistic practice based on sewing and tying together found and gifted objects and textiles, explores notions of memory and identity. She was born in Caetanópolis, the birthplace of Brazil’s textile industry: using textiles, wire, wood and other scavenged materials, she creates assemblages that recall and celebrate Afro-Brazilian craft movements. 

Untitled, from Raízes (Roots) series, features fabrics tied around a tree trunk. The abstract sculpture is almost biomorphic; its organic form is inspired by the artist’s childhood experiences watching her benzedeira (folk-medicine healer) grandmother perform Afro-Brazilian rites. As fabric is produced by weaving, knitting, or knotting independent threads together into one unit, or as discrete histories merge to define one’s identity, so too does Gomes unite the distinct narratives of her materials into one singular work. Her work binds cultural movements and traditions that are related to the concepts of memory and identity, as well as to the transformative power of creation in situations of vulnerability and invisibility.

Sonia Gomes lives and works in São Paulo. Her first institutional solo exhibition in Europe premiered in 2019, at the Museum Frieder Burda, Salon Berlin and Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden. Her work has been exhibited in significant international group exhibitions such as the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2021); Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2021); 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015). Her works were exhibited at important museums, including National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg; Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Aalborg; Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo. Her work is represented in public collections worldwide including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami.