Sculptor, painter and printmaker, Ana Maria Pacheco was born in Brazil in 1943. She taught at universities in Goiás for several years before coming to England on a British Council Scholarship to study at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Since 1973 she has lived and worked in England. She has exhibited at major institutions in the UK including the British Museum, the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
A central theme in Pacheco’s work is the abuse of control and power and the vulnerability and alienation faced by victims of oppression. Her work is partly a response to the troubled period in Brazil’s history culminating in the military coup of 1964, to which she was an eyewitness. Pacheco draws on folklore and Biblical myths and explores themes of love, family, death and violence. Her aesthetic encapsulates various aspects of the indigenous, African and European ethnicities to be found in Brazil.
Pacheco finds it ironic that in England her art is sometimes reduced to being ‘Brazilian’, when her very nationality is rooted in European origins. Brazil is, after all, a Portuguese creation. And so by returning to Europe, she has ‘completed the puzzle’ of her heredity and is able to analyse her colonial legacy from a different vantage point.
Her drypoint series Dark Event (2007) is anchored by the key image of a head bound by wire above a bleeding heart. The other prints in the series provide a narrative that expands upon this image. There are scenes of innocence betrayed by barbarity and the violence of war and scenes suggesting redemption through compassion.