- Art & Design
Art in its best form brims with emotions. Positive or negative, it does not particularly matter. Yet the protesting kind intrigues us the most, because protest is the harbinger of change. If that change benefits our planet, we have an ear for it. Thus, we did not want to deprive you of the beautiful works of Portuguese artist Vanessa Barragão, as she fights climate change with her creations.
Barragão grew up in a warm family by the blue water in Albufeira. From an early age, she was fascinated by crafts: drawing, crocheting or making doll clothes, she did it all with the utmost precision even then. As a young twentysomething, that passion returned and she went to study fashion design in Lisbon. There she grew not only artistically, but also personally. She became more aware of consumption in the world and of sustainability and environmental friendliness. Gradually, she began to be more and more annoyed by the way we as a society treat our belongings. Since the textile industry is a big polluter, she wanted to discover more about textiles after her university education and figure out how to make change herself. So she decided to move to Porto, the cradle of the Portuguese textile industry. There she went to work in an artisan carpet factory and became a textile designer.
'We humans need to change our mindset’
The creative spirit can safely be labelled a true artist as she manages to create handmade works using ancestral techniques. She crochets, felts, weaves, embroiders with waste or leftovers from factories. The artist describes waste not as something finite, but as the beginning of something beautiful. Naturally, she carefully selects and cleans the various threads she works with. Then, she starts the unpredictable creation process; surprising because of the spontaneity and emotions involved in its unfolding. The basis of Barragao's work lies at the core of her existence: her family and the ocean. Not only her pond but also that of the Caribbean once enchanted her childhood heart; more specifically, the magnificent coral reefs that lay there showing off. To this day, it still pains her to see with her own eyes the biodiversity and colours of that natural splendour diminishing every year. Therefore, she decided to make beautiful handicrafts with a message: ‘We humans need to change our mindset and learn ways to save our planet,’ she says. She invariably believes that upcycling can be one of the solutions to that. And we are happy to spread that message with her. Images courtesy of Vanessa Barragão