Being born and raised near the seaside, in the South of Portugal, Vanessa Barragão has always been captivated by the Sealife. Her work is characterized by complex, rich and beautiful coral reef elements, combining craft and recycled materials into sculptural objects. In Passage project, her focus is not specifically on sea life, but particularly on the immersive capability of textiles, the ones that call for interaction and touch.
Vanessa Barragão: Passage is the fruit of a big collaboration between my work as an artist and Beiriz factory. I worked in this artisanal factory for 3 years and to celebrate this partnership and friendship we decided to develop a collection together. The design was developed by me and all the production is developed by Beiriz. Passage is a place in Raja Ampat, and it was the inspiration for this design.
Vanessa Barragão: I decided to start creating not only tapestries but also rugs because I felt, and still feel, that touch it’s an important sense to my art. It is important that people feel it with all senses as possible, so they can understand the message better. Since we, as human beings, perceive and feel better when we are more immersive and connected to something, I believe that this interaction is really important.
Textures and colours
Vanessa Barragão: First of all, it is important that I consider the capabilities of Tapetes Beiriz factory. I try to find a midterm between what I desire and what they can afford and are able to produce. Therefore, and since I’m used to their methods, the choice of textures was pretty simple, as I wanted to create something simple. Regarding the colors, I tried to use the colors that I saw in coral reefs in Raja Ampat, more specifically in Passage. Besides, I tried to represent and use the shapes that I found in this place as well.
Vanessa Barragão: In terms of technical processes, I must be honest: I didn’t feel any special challenge or difficulty. Actually and normally, the main challenge that I used to face is to summarize all the ideas that I have. If I could, I would design so many pieces with different characteristics because I have so many memories from that place, so many feelings… And it is hard to keep it simple, to cut the wings of imagination and creativity!
Interview with Vanessa Barragão | Images: Vanessa Barragão.