“Art is the language of my thoughts. I find it easier to paint than to use words. The lights, the darks, the layers of depth that comes from playing with textures and colors, they all give me a freedom that I cannot find in Portuguese or English. Painting is my quiet way of expressing my heritage and questioning social values. My work has become a tool for me to narrate my life experiences in parables. The paintings I make reflect my personal mythology.”
Photo by @gabiqueiroph
A generation X’er who has defied the odds, Milenna C. Saraiva is a Brazilian visual artist with a studio in the metropolis of São Paulo. A graduate with a Fine Arts degree from Santa Monica College, in Los Angeles, Milenna apprenticed as a painter, under The Mentor Program to Linda Lopes, Nathan Ota, Mark Trujillo, Sharon Kagan and Ron Davis. In 2012 she earned a Post Graduation degree in contemporary painting at Sao Paulo’s University FAAP (Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado).
Milenna’s techniques have evolved from tightly wrought pencil drawings into looser, layered canvases of textured and richly hued imagery, integrated through quick, sometimes brutal splashes of the palette knife, and through blending, assembling, edging, detailing and scraping off painterly layers.Drawing upon raw emotion, she delves into her subconscious to harness and synthesize the process for recasting conventions of figurative and mural painting through a deliberate pursuit toward abstraction. Relying principally on the free-flowing processes of memory and creative imagination, Milenna eschews painting portraits to capture external likeness. She pursues, instead, the objective of creating a portal to the inner journey of self-exploration. Her current series of portraits examines the construction and deconstruction of identity - self-sacrifice for a higher cause - particularly environmental - even martyrdom.
In her body of work there are references to the tradition of figurative painting both historic and contemporary: Matisse, Bacon and Van Gogh are all readily recalled; while contemporary greats like Jenny Saville and Andrew Salgado, are also referenced.
Saraiva has garnered hundreds of commissions both private and corporate, including PayPal, Uber and Nestle and since 2002 has consistently exhibited her work worldwide in both private and public galleries including: The Bergamont Station in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Katzen Arts Centre in Washington DC, The Peach Gallery in Toronto, Tom Cox Gallery in London, UK, Fondazione Campana Dei Caduti, in Italy, and Casa Galeria, Galeria Alma da Rua, Galeria Lar in São Paulo.
The artist’s keen sense of how other creative manifestations – music, drama, literature - overlap has transpired into her embrace of art performance. She has reaped over twenty trophies for live painting competitions, including two national titles for Brazil Art Battle. You can follow Milenna every month by reading her column, ”Art Observed” in the Sao Paulo magazine Revista Circuito.
__ Written by the Canadian author Barbara D. Janusz