Ana Silva | Artist

As a child, Ana Silva expressed a great appetite for creation. Isolated twenty kilometers from the first village, on the farm where her father grew coffee, she used to read a lot and build what she calls "weird things". She was distorting objects. She had for habit to cut shoes to make installations on the walls of her family house, which worried her father so much that he took her to a psychologist. The latter reassured them by confirming that Ana Silva simply had an artistic sensibility. Later on, she studied at the ArCo Higher School in Lisbon. She practices painting, sculpture, and artistic installation.

Ana Silva's creativity is expressed by the plurality of her materials. Canvas, wood, metal, acrylic or fabric are as well the materials that surround her and the forms of her art. During her walks in the markets of Luanda, she distorts the primary use of raffia bags or other doilies to a memory work. From abandoned objects to relived objects: “I cannot separate my work from my experience in Angola, at a time when access to materials was difficult as a result of the war of independence and the civil war. My creativity was born from the exploration of my immediate environment. This experience had a major impact on my way of working, and my life more generally."

From all her various techniques (painting, drawing, collage, oxidation of metal), she retains sewing and she associates lace with African fabrics and colors. According to Ana Silva, art is the witness of her mixed culture. Ana Silva's aesthetic is a story delicately suggested behind the laces and nets where female figures revealed themselves.

Her current work is divided into three main series: AguaChildGrandmother. In her most important series, Agua, the artist shows the difficult access to water in her homeland, Angola. Despite the abundance of this resource, the lack of infrastructure forces women and children to travel kilometers every day to obtain water : “Angola country of water, where water flows throughout the country, everywhere except near the population”.

The following series, Child, illustrates a youth deprived of its childhood because of the need to seek water. Ana Silva's art is a testimony of the condition carried by women and children of Angola. As expressed by the series Grandmother, one of the recurring theme in the artist's work is the transmission between herself, her grandmother and her daughter. Her art of embroidery filled with women's figures, with their knowledge and complicity.

Also a writer, Ana Silva accompanies her series with poems. According to the artist, "to explain too much is to destroy". Writing gives a meaning while bypassing reality. The stories she tells in her poems or short stories are full of memories from the time when she left her native farm, farm then occupied by the rebels for thirty years. The war had emptied her village. Her texts are yet again embroideries in which familiar faces and striking images emerge: “Arts and writing, so that the imaginary saves the real”.
(Text by Magnin-A)

Ana Silva - Je n'ai pas besoin de fleurs 004, 2022 - Sac en plastique tissé, dentelle, broderie - 219 x 148 cm

Exhibitions & Awards


Ana Silva, Vestir Memorias Alambamento, Ambassade du Portugal, Luanda, Angola
Ana Silva, Vestir Memorias Alambamento, Casa da Cerca, Lisbonne, Portugal
Portrait de famille, Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris
Fràgil, Instituto Camoes, Ambassade du Portugal, Luanda, Angola
Primeira Amostra, Alliance française, Luanda, Angola
The Power of My Hands, Musée d’Histoire Naturelle, Luanda, Angola
Constellation, Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris
Sarah Maldoror cinéma tricontinental, Palais de fer, Luanda, Angola
Rescue Op, Pavilhao 31, Lisbonne, Portugal
Festival International des Textiles Extra ordinaires, Clermont Ferrand, France
Biennale de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal
3ème exposition artistique annuelle entre la Chine et les pays lusophones, Macao, Chine
Entretecido | Interlace, Galerias Municipais, Pavilhão Branco, Lisbonne.
The Power of my Hands, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, France.
Fillam(a)nt, Fondation Blachère, Apt, France
A representaçao da figura humana em Angola, Banco Economico, Luanda, Angola.
Alimentaçao e Cultura, Pabillon de l’Angola, Expo Milan, Italie.
Os Transparentes, SIEXPO, Luanda, Angola.

Diaspora, Viana do Castelo, Lisbonne, Portugal.
Lusofonia, Museum of America, exposition collective d’artistes angolais, Madrid,
Inside-Out, Museum of Natural History, Lisbonne, Portugal.
The Power of my Hands, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, France, catalogue
d’exposition, 2021.
Oh! Africart, d’après une idée de Sonia Perrin et Tim Newman, Elizabeth Tchoungi,
éditions du Chêne – Hachette Livre, 2021, pp.26-29.
Imagine!, Le Festival International des Textiles Extra-ordinaires, Clermont Ferrand,
France, 2022, pp.58-59.