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'I TOLD THE STARS ABOUT YOU' Emerging contemporary artist Rafaela Braga

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

It’s late June 2023 and my gallery director friend Felipe Schwager invites me over to 'Lièvre', his home galley where he is hosting the work of Rafaella Braga, a brilliant twenty five year old Brazilian artist, who draws influences from modern and contemporary art, street art, hip hop, and personal experiences. Her exhibition ‘I told the stars about you’ is a fusion of painted, frameless canvases and sculptures.

The walls of the gallery are a neutral cream. With the absence of frames it’s hard to discern where the art stops and the room begins. Indeed, the works seem to merge into the space creating an interconnected experience for the visitor. And the exhibition’s title scribbled cohesively on one of the walls, provides not only an uplifting message but also a glimpse into the artist’s purpose..

The paintings possess a dreamlike quality. Some of the canvases appear to depict a woodland. Red and orange tones contrast against a luminescent blue sky.

Braga approaches her artistic practice with a freedom and a lack of preconceptions, which allow her ideas to materialise fluidly. Delving into the interplay between reality and fantasy, identity and time, she offers an imaginary alternative to what we know and understand. Her artistic process, Schwager tells me, is deeply personal, and using the canvas as a diary to probe into herself, she shares her vulnerabilities and secrets, exploring the relationship between writing and images.

Through her work, she creates a fusion of ultra-contemporary and nostalgic elements. The pieces I witness reveal her reflections on traditional African and indigenous Brazilian rituals, fused with European overtones that simultaneously shed light and hope for the future. Abstract, giant, human forms seem to glide mysteriously throughout the works. There’s an intimacy between these characters which are depicted with elongated limbs wrapped around one another. Some forms are in the foetal position whilst further creatures are bird-like, representing perhaps an expression of creative freedom and energy in motion.

The second half of the exhibition is located in the vast rafters of Schwager’s gallery. The ‘theatre’ of this imposing installation is overwhelming. The substantial double sided canvases have a momentous presence whilst the heavenly soundtrack on continuous loop and burning candles add to the glory of the moment. In juxtaposition, the bows tied neatly into the artwork symbolise union, secrecy and love.

I am not surprised that Braga is garnering international recognition, her works seem to have the freedom to continue in our imagination.

For further information contact Wehrmuehle Museum,, Wehrmühlenweg 8, (near Berlin), Tel +49 175 5038587.

© Copyright Hazel Clarke 2023

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