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Interview MIKHA M.
Date MARCH 2021

MARINA ESMERALDO
      Human, and multidisciplinary artist Marina Esmeraldo on her revelations for belonging and how Barcelona has influenced her creative practice.

Marina grew up in Fortaleza, Brazil and Oxford, UK, and she’s been living in Barcelona, Spain for the last ten years. “I chose this place because the first time I set foot here, 14 years ago, I knew immediately that I felt at home, and eventually made my way back. Also, the seaside and the mediterranean culture reminds me of my hometown in the tropics.” 

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Photo by © Marina “I'm obsessed with palm trees and they always remind me of home”

“FOR ME, BARCELONA IS WHERE I DISCOVERED MYSELF AND GREW, AND STILL AM GROWING, INTO THE PERSON I WANTED TO BE.”

LFV: What challenges and learnings have you experienced in terms of living, and working in Barcelona?

M: The biggest challenge was to overcome the feeling I had of not belonging anywhere. Really, I understood that I belong to myself. And during this pandemic that sense has been even further refined: my home, and the safest space I have in my life, is my own body.

Breaking from the confining norms amplifies creativity; how does your experience abroad and the new culture influences you, and your practice? 

M: It really does. The first year I moved to Barcelona I could feel my mind opening wide open to a new sort of creativity; the city has such a strong tradition of innovation. Travelling and memory are my main focus of research for my work, and my biggest sources of inspiration. Visiting new places and revisiting those memories; how we change when we are away, a better version of ourselves; these things fascinate me.

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© Marina’s work on her mural installation: GENIUS LOCI, a Latin expression meaning “the spirit of places”

What does home mean to you? 

M: This year I have learned that I am home.

What gives you a deep sense of belonging? What do you find most inspiring about your new city or culture?

M: Identifying on a deeper, almost spiritual level with a place's Genius Loci (Latin for "the spirit of a place"). That happens instinctually, this identification, and it can take years to unravel it and understand why precisely. For me, Barcelona is where I discovered myself and grew, and still am growing, into the person I wanted to be. The beautiful sunshine, the coast, the creativity, the architecture, the tolerance and resilience of Catalan culture all speak to me on a daily basis.

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© Marina’s work “sculptures inspired by travel, wanderlust and architecture”

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© Marina in practice at the studio

What’s your favourite song, book or artwork for recalling home?

M: Bossa nova instantly gives me “saudade”, the famous Portuguese concept of yearning for home or an experience lived.

Any advice for someone moving to a new country?

M: Believe in yourself and listen to your intuition. Be open to living new experiences and get your head around all the bureaucratic shit, it makes everything easier!

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Marina Esmeraldo is a multidisciplinary artist from Fortaleza, Brazil, now based between Barcelona and London. Her work draws on a tropical upbringing, a Modernist training in Architecture and her innate wanderlust. Marina has exhibited around the world, including in the Venice Biennale, and has given talks and been awarded honours in Europe, the U.K., the U.S. and Latin America.

Visit Marina’s site and induldge yourself in her artworks and workshop for finding your path to powerful creativity.

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