H O W  I T   S T A R T E D

Growing up in the Mediterranean landscapes of Southern Portugal, I was early on influenced by its calm, warm colours and by the diversity of its ancestry: Cynetes, Phoenicians, Romans, Visigoths, Arabs and all the others who have brought knowledge, cultural and artistic practices that we can witness to this day. This immersion in cultural heritage, along with the close contact with the ocean has defined much of my ethos and aesthetics. Representational forms of flora and fauna, embedded in our traditional art forms, have left me with a strong inclination towards inserting these subjects in art, as part of an intention to balance our relationship with nature. I draw and create since I can remember, and representing natural elements has been a pivotal part of my practice.

From the moment I learned about the Renaissance ideals of working across disciplines it became what I wanted to pursue. I felt the same excitement in solving mathematical equations as when creating art, so that opened the possibility of working in my different interests. That drove me early on to a specialised art high school, and later, to the disciplines and life experiences that offered the quality and diversity I was looking for: Product Design in college, a graduation course in Urban Design, followed by a direct entry into a PhD programme in the same area. It also inspired me to travel and to live abroad, in my curiosity to see different perspectives and cultures.

T H E  C H A L L E N G E

Influenced by the travelling stories of Elizabeth Gilbert and Pico Iyer, I decided to do something I had longed for: to take a sabbatical. My travel was not into foreign lands with exotic landscapes, but back to the places where I grew up: mostly, it was an inner journey - maybe the most important travel anyone can have.

Like many other interesting travels, this was a journey that took its time. I increased my time spent in nature, tempered by my lifelong interest in the ocean. Having this time to reflect on my own path and enriched by the experiences of life by the sea, made me fine-tune and decide my future work: one in which I could share the stories of nature’s majestic, calm beauty and immensity, how it gives us health and wellbeing, in a way that contributes to the protection of our lands and seas.

In Western society, we very often face the discomfort associated with difficult emotional states such as fear, depression and loneliness. The competitive streak and the many demands we have to deal with in our personal lives and careers take us out of our connection to others and to the natural world. We may have brief moments of re-connecting, of a deep intimacy with all things: when we listen to a beautiful concert, when we feel awe in natural surroundings and in places of great beauty. Intimacy with all the aspects of ourselves, the different facets we all have – comfortable and uncomfortable, the ones we enjoy to see and the ones we don’t -; and intimacy with the world outside of our bodies, the beauty and the challenges, resting in our own awareness and in nature’s calmness, can contribute to restore fundamental parts of our individual and collective wellbeing. This is an essential part of what I want to bring with my work: to foster that powerful connection that is ours to enjoy, through evoking nature. 

When we feel that connection and integrate embody our wholeness - physically and emotionally -, in all its innate force, we're in a better position to surf the ever changing seas of our lives.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Lígia Oliveira © 2021