20 April 2020

Maria Gabriel

Maria Gabriel, ' Love laden with clouds' (detail), 1976. Lithograph on paper. Edition Artist's Proof. Modern Collection

The theme of the silkscreen print dated 1978 – from the series ‘Os Migrantes’ [The Migrants] – also appeared in other prints from different periods: 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978, among others. It reflects the emotion I felt about the departure of my close family, colleagues and friends to emigrate abroad. The events that were unfolding at the time, caused by great economic difficulties, forced many people to look for work outside the country. It is not easy to watch the dismantling of families and accept being on your own. That was what happened, since I had embarked on a journey that would allow me to pursue the vocation that had been clear to me since childhood.

The 1960s were characterised by the departure of many people to Africa, but also to England, France and the Netherlands. In 1965 I went to London and travelled on an aeroplane for the first time. In 1967 I enrolled in an artistic printing course with the Cooperativa Gravura, which I found out about through a small advertisement in the newspaper. At the time I was unaware of the cooperative’s existence. It was there that I met painter Alice Jorge and painter and printmaker João Hogan, my teachers. I am indebted to both of them for the knowledge they passed on to me and also for the friendship that we shared from then on. Around that time I applied for a small grant from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The print A Caminheira [The Wayfarer], dated 1968, made using the burin technique, was perhaps an omen my future comings and goings. In 1974, I was doing an apprenticeship in Hamburg, at the Hochschule Für Bildende Kunst, when the Carnation Revolution took place. I went back to Portugal, returning to Hamburg several days later, and after that it was always the same; I was always coming and going. The theme of the figure that moves around, which I called the ‘Wayfarer’, developed over the course of the years.

The works donated to the Modern Collection in 2019 include: A Caminheira [The Wayfarer], from 1968; O Amor e os Mitos [Love and Myths], from 1976; Amor Carregado de Nuvens [Love Laden with Clouds], from 1976; and the 1978 silkscreen print from the series ‘Os Migrantes’ [The Migrants].

In other prints the figure appears much more diluted.

Text by Maria Gabriel