Camila Cavalcante – Scotland

Louise Bourgeois once stated that ‘art is a guarantee of sanity’. As an artist who uses her private life and experiences to inspire emotions and thoughts that other people share, Camila can endorse Bourgeois testimony. In fact, art is a personal search for a connection with her surroundings, a search for acceptance.

With a background in journalism and art critique, Camila has had a varied experience as a visual artist, using mainly documentary photography to create my bridge with reality. With both digital and analogue photos of her private experiences, memories and body, Camila challenges people to recognise in those images their own feelings and emotions. The idea that ‘private’ and ‘public’ can be overlapping and complementary.

In studying journalism Camilla developed my communication skills and she learned never to neglect her cultural and social surroundings. She believes that art can be a genuine path to transform society, it is always important to understand the motivations and the context in which to develop her artistic practice.

The same ideas of private and public, intimate and social perception were explored in her most recent project, Decifro. Camila used the illiteracy statistics of her home state of Alagoas, in Brazil, as the inspiration to create a visual expression of the perception of being illiterate. She spent some months in Laos and Cambodia so that, for the first time, she could be in contact with languages to which she had no previous understanding. Camila selected a few words in Khmer and Laotian and then photographed what they meant to her. She had the freedom to create new definitions for those words and to give them the weight or the lightness that she wanted, according to how she felt at that moment. Later on, Camila rewrote those words on canvas, using collage and embroidery techniques, and material that she collected in Asia. The canvas of the word and the photograph(s) of the meaning that Ishegave to those words are displayed together. Decifro was commissioned for exhibition by Pinacoteca Universitária, in Maceió, Brazil, and was shown for the first time between November 26th 2014 and January 30th 2015.

In a way, Camila’s work is a confession, a story in which she is both the author and a character trying to communicate with others. It is an emotional release as much as a need for understanding her surroundings and herself.

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