(this page was last updated in August 2023)
Jacarezinho, Brazil, 1988
Lives and works in Curitiba, Brazil
PIPA Prize 2023 nominee
Bruna Alcantara is a visual artist and journalist. Brazilian, she was born in the city of Jacarezinho, in the northern region of the State of Paraná. After graduating in Journalism in 2010 from PUCPR, she began to work professionally as a visual artist by using her family’s photographic archive as research material, and mainly, by finding in the artistic field the best way to explore the themes of motherhood and the body as a political instrument.
While she was finishing her master’s degree in Portugal, the artist became involved with the local feminist movement, as a woman and an immigrant, a mandatory subject in her work. It is also in street art, through the language of paste-up, which involves image and collage in urban interventions, that Bruna finds one of her main forms of expression. By bringing together the love for storytelling with photography, embroidery, collage, object art, and installation, the artist creates visual works that start from indignation, trauma, and violence and strain the relationship between the public and the private.
Bruna Alcantara has participated in national and international events, such as LambesGoia in Goiania and the Cheap Street Poster Art Festival in Bologna, as well as having had her work in individual and group exhibitions in Curitiba, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and countries like Portugal, Italy, and Lebanon.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA Prize 2023:
Series Mães também gozam
Série Reflect yourself
Series Old Photographs
03/2023 – Artist Nominated for the Pipa Contemporary Art Prize.
03/2023 – Collective exhibition “WE: Women in Science” – Paço das Artes, São Paulo – SP.
02/2023 – Taught lambe-lambe (paste-up) and photographic intervention courses. Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo (MAMSP).
01/2023 – Communication Coordination for the Cuíca Artistic Residency, Niterói – Rio de Janeiro / Project funded by the Fomentão Grant for the incentive of culture – City Hall of Niterói – RJ.
12/2022 – Artistic Installation – International Meeting of Women of the Scene. Alfaiataria Art Space, Curitiba – PR.
11/2022 – Artistic Residency – One Body in front of the Other – Campo das Artes – São Luís do Purunã – PR.
09/2022 – Collective Exhibition “XXX” – Capibaribe 27, Rio de Janeiro – RJ.
07/2022 – First Edition Lambes Brasil Art Show. Curator. Cultural Village Cora Coralina. Goiânia – GO.
07/2022 – Guest artist, muralist – Goiânia International Paste-up Festival – GO.
06/2022 – Guest artist, muralist – CHEAP Street Poster Art. Bologna – Italy.
06/2022 – Communication Coordinator – Sergius Erdelyi Artistic Residency, in Tijucas do Sul – PR / Project funded by the State Program for Fostering and Incentive to Culture of Paraná.
05/2022 – Collective Exhibition “Salão de Artes Vermelho”, Ateliê Sanitário, Rio de Janeiro – RJ. Guest Artist
03/2022 – Press Officer for the Ação 2030 project, with 17 artists, in 10 municipal schools in Curitiba, Cultural Incentive Support Program, from the Cultural Foundation of Curitiba.
12/2021 – Muchas Minas Art Show, collective exhibition. Fiep System Cultural Center. Curitiba-PR.
12/2021 – How Not to Climb a Staircase, collective exhibition. Imperial Palace. Rio de Janeiro – RJ.
11/2021 – Press officer for the mural project by Mucha Tinta, with Spanish Marina Capdevila and Cris Pagnoncelli from Paraná. Project funded through the Incentive/Patronage Law.
09/2021 – Solo exhibition “Derivações Para Uma Mártir” on display at Alfaiataria Art Space. Guest Artist.
08/2021 – Operar (N)O Caos, collective exhibition. Casa da Escada Colorida. Rio de Janeiro – RJ.
07/2021 – SESCRio Winter Festival, Murals in paste-up, artist Lambes Brasil. Petrópolis, Teresópolis, Nova Friburgo, Três Rios – RJ
07/2021 – Press officer for the collective exhibition “A Imagem Retroalimentada”, presented by Clube da Colagem de Curitiba, at the Gravura Museum, at Solar do Barão, with the support of the Cultural Incentive Support Program of the Cultural Foundation of Curitiba.
04/2021 – Artistic Residency, resident artist. Casa da Escada Colorida. Rio de Janeiro – RJ.
03/2021 – Illustrator Folha de São Paulo – Artistic project for an article celebrating Women ‘s Day.
09/2019 – Curitiba Biennial, As If We’ve Known Each Other For Years, collective exhibition. Ponto de Fuga Gallery. Curitiba – PR.
02/2019 – Solo exhibition “Derivações Para Uma Mártir” on display in São Paulo, at the Alfredo Volpi Culture Workshop, presented by the Government of the State of São Paulo, Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy. Guest Artist.
03/2019 – Press officer for the collective exhibition “Invented Women”, MUMA. Curitiba-PR / As a journalist and advisor for the Mulheres Inventadas project, funded by the Cultural Foundation of Curitiba;
11/2018 – Brazilian Street Art | Lambe-Lambe Exhibition, group exhibition. Brazil Lebanon Cultural Center. Beirut – Lebanon.
06/2018 – About Free Women, group exhibition. Recorte Gallery, São Paulo – SP.
03/2018 – In Memoriam da Dor – Porto Feminist Festival, group exhibition. Cedofeita Gallery. Porto, Portugal.
03/2017 – Recamada: lines of the self – Porto Feminist Festival, Solo Exhibition | O Casarão – Space for Artistic Interventions. Porto, Portugal.
How ironic: to pervert the notion of sewing – linked to female activities – to denounce what men do to us.
I was born in a city of 30,000 inhabitants, in the countryside of Paraná. That’s where I stayed until I was 18. I had a childhood in the backwoods, chasing chicken, playing with mud, and riding horses. But then again, I had around me everything that a male chauvinist and backwards society can bring to a child: I was a girl “raised to get married”.
As a legacy of those times, in addition to various traumas, I carry handicrafts, embroidery, and sewing, as skills. After all, I was also a girl who was taught to make her own trousseau even before I knew what marriage, gender identity, and monogamy meant.
I introduced my text explaining my origin, because it is always present, even if subjectively, in my artistic process. I can say that my work begins with the internal/external conflict and with indignation, mainly over issues related to women and inequalities.
Added to that, aged 26, I discovered an unwanted pregnancy. Since then, my work has been about the mother that I (and millions of other Brazilian women) didn’t want to be and that I am. With words and judgments ranging from “single mother” to “you’re a mother, you need to behave”, or “Who is your son with?”. I also research the relationship of the Catholic Church to the Christian guilt that I carry in autobiographical works, crossed by affective memory, such as the oratories.
If social pressure wasn’t enough, my generation also has to deal with the algorithms that have always suggested happy pregnant women. I tried: I then started my first series, Maternity, which has lasted 9 years. In self-portraits, pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, and even today, with a child out of the womb, I have photography as an ally. But I don’t stop there: photographs are the starting point for making embroideries, flags, and paste-ups that I spread on my own social networks, with viral content, characteristic of memes, and also, on the street, on walls, in places where I most like to be, tensioning the public and the private that so much remind of society’s relationship with female bodies.
Also, with old photographs, found in used bookstores wherever I go, or in garbage, I narrate stories of a contemporary Brazil, with content from newspaper headlines. There is a journalist in me after all, in search of factual content, who ironically deals with the political situations we have been through in recent years: bizarre speeches by the former president, men who think they can abuse a girl because she wears “Anita shorts “, or inquiries carried over for years, like “where’s Queiroz?”.
Also, as a scream, last year I developed a manifesto: Mães Também Gozam, which talks about the obstetric violence I suffered: the episiotomy and the more than 10 stitches they gave me between the vagina and the anus. To do so, I sewed a flag in English (Mums Also Cum) as a performance action, to hang in one of the main tourist spots in the city where my son was born, Porto.
Then, in Brazil, the phrase in Portuguese has already been to several capitals. I even joke that it went on an advertising plane, all over Copacabana. I seek to question the authority of machismo, which thought it could sew on me, and on millions of other women, the “husband’s stitch”, that extra stitch, so that the man can feel pleasure in the intercourse with a woman who has just given birth.
Also, in the search for re-signification of old objects, I search for mirrors and photograph them, as an extension of my own body. Centered on landscapes that dialogue with the beautiful image of the perfectionist pursuit of female aesthetics, or what is expected of it. In the Reflect Yourself series, which has already covered more than 5,000 kilometers, I find in myself the healing of traumas, to rediscover enjoyment, and pleasure, and the woman I was told would cease to exist after becoming a mother.
I’m alive, whatever the cost: my body pulsates.