In school, Sonia Gomes learned that “not everything is art, but art can be anything.” She applies this to her own art. Gomes creates work from fabrics she finds or that people give her. She also uses wire, driftwood, old birdcages, and other found objects.
Gomes was born in the Brazilian town of Caetanópolis. She ties, twists, stuffs, and sews her sculptures into organic, or curved, shapes. They reflect Afro-Brazilian culture and history. Caetanópolis was once an important textile manufacturing center.
The artist made Gaiola, above, in 2016. Gomes stitches a sculpture and places it inside a birdcage. She wants viewers to think about the meaning of freedom and racism in Brazil. The country didn’t abolish slavery until 1888.
Gomes creates art by upcycling, or reusing materials to make something new. The materials honor local traditions. They “bring the history of the people that they belonged to and I give a new significance to them,” Gomes says.