Luana Vitra, werk in uitvoering (2023)

Luana Vitra is a visual artist, dancer, and performer from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, an area known for its natural landscapes deeply influenced by industrial mining activities. Rooted in a family background of carpentry, from her father’s side, and a literary affinity from her mother’s, Vitra explores in her work the nuances of matter while highlighting the interplay between geological processes and emotional experiences.

Luana Vitra received the Prince Claus Seed Award (2022). Her work has been exhibited in various institutions such as MAM Rio de Janeiro, Framer Framed Amsterdam, South London Gallery, Javett Art Center, all in 2022. In 2023 she participated in the 35th Bienal de São Paulo titled Choreographies of the Impossible and Right to Form, a group exhibition at Instituto Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, both in Brazil.


work in production

Luana Vitra, work in production (2023)

With this new work, the artist will reflect on the relationship between manual work and prayer, considering the material as a source of protection. This aspect transcends various cultures, connecting to the energetic properties of different metals and the patterns formed by beads and metals through memory. 

During her six-month residency, Luana Vitra will dedicate herself to learning two techniques found in South Africa, the first with wires and the second with beads. The artist's interest in these two techniques is due to the fact that she understands stitch, line and repetition as the cradle of spirituality. She grew up observing the hands of prayers traversing the beads of the rosary, repeating the same prayer over and over again. In her perception, spirituality is also this journey that the hands make over the beads, as if these points were leading the body into the invisible, fostering protection and a sense of purpose.

Luana Vitra’s production residency in South Africa draws on cultural traditions that have been present for centuries and therefore connected to diasporic understanding of belief systems, material cultural productions and indigenous mining traditions whose understanding is critical to the project of decolonial spiritual recovery. – Gabi Ngcobo

The residency takes place in eThekwini (Durban), where beading and wire weaving traditions are arguably the strongest and still most visible. As part of her production residency Luana also travels to Gauteng region to connect to histories of extraction and the material cultures they leave behind. She also travels to other regions on the African continent, namely Accra, Ghana, where histories of returning enslaved people landed after being expelled from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil for stirring the historical Malê revolt (1835) and Mozambique, a place with shared colonial narratives with Brazil.

Luana Vitra was selected by the Commissioning Committee of the Hartwig Art Production | Collection Fund to research and learn new techniques in order to produce a new work to be included in the collection. The piece will subsequently be donated to the Dutch state, becoming an integral part of the national art collection (‘Rijkscollectie’), available for institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.