vanessa barragão

Oh my word. Okay, let’s begin by saying, absolutely everything in the portfolio of Portuguese textile artist Vanessa Barragão is mind-blowing. I wrote about her in 2018, and have been following closely ever since. She is constantly creating new underwater wonders out of wool “from the deadstock of the textile industry in Portugal”. This insane 2019 installation, titled “Coral Garden”, involved months of crocheting and latch-hooking in order to bring this magical, colorful world to life. Here are Vanessa’s words about why she does what she does:

Global warming and pollution are destroying one of the most vital environments – the coral reefs – which are the heart of marine life. “The Coral Garden”, focuses on this issue. Vanessa believes in an up-cycling effort and conscious production methods as an attempt to fight this negative mindset and improve our planet’s health, creating her artworks with recycled materials and handmade techniques.


comments (3)

  1. margaret wertheim /// 11.05.2020 /// 7:26pm

    Hi – Ms Barragao’s work is very nice, but she has been taking ideas and inspiration from my Crochet Coral Reef project for years. My project is what created this unique mix of craft/crochet, environmentalism, responsiveness to global warming, and community practice. My work was in the 2019 Venice Biennale; is widely known around the world; and has inspired many other artistic knock-offs. It’s a matter of professional integrity that artists give credit when they use other artists work as a scaffolding for their own practice. My project dates to 2005. In my practice I make an ethical point of giving credit to everyone involved and it’s disappointing to see so many other artists not following this generous and important principle.

  2. Joanne Barwise /// 11.08.2020 /// 11:11pm

    Hello, I looked up the Crochet Coral Reef project, which was stunning. Vanessa Barragão’s work seems to be very different. They do not look the same, not done by the same hands therefore they have a totally different feel; however both projects inspired by coral reefs. I do wonder when artists get a bit self-righteous about ideas, expression, themes. There is room for everyone. No one is attempting to “knock-off” the same work. It’s other fibre artists’ hands and minds imagining a coral reef too. When one picks up a crochet hook to hook a coral, the stitches are universally the same, thus some appearance of similarity. There is freedom for everyone to do an art piece on a coral reef. No one will ever forget Margaret Wertheim ‘s work. She inspires me to make a coral reef, but it would look quite different. Is it ego that drives us to get self-righteous about recognition? Is Margaret certain that Vanessa is taking ideas? Ideas have no form, what’s really being stolen?

  3. vanessa barragão - fooledbyart /// 01.25.2021 /// 1:29am

    […] recycled materials* required, but it’s finished. I’ve written about Vanessa’s tapestries and installations before, but this is her first “rug tapestry”… and it’s stunning. The palette, the scale, and… […]