“I came from the East, where light is born; went through Africa, where I learned to love life; I came to Europe, where I studied painting in the city of lights; then I fixed myself in Lisbon. Gradually I retraced the labyrinthic path towards light …”
– Maluda, pseudonym of Maria de Lourdes Ribeiro (1934 – 1999)
I ‘discovered’ the painting above on the FB page of Stephane Thos who’d ‘Liked’ a photo I’d posted on my FB page. I don’t know Stephane and he doesn’t know me, so we’re not FB ‘Friends’. He’s French, and I can read and speak it – assez bien, je crois – which is how I managed to work out that the painting above is by the Portuguese painter Maluda.
I know the painting is of Lisbon, but as it’s one of a series, for the moment it has to be entitled Lisbao #?. What captured me was that in reducing the town-landscape to its essential colours, components and perspectives, “a synthesis of the urban landscape“, it is easily recognisable yet remains intangible. It is populated by one’s imagination.
For some, Maluda was a ‘mere’ graphic artist: she was commercially successful with silkscreen prints, posters, and postage stamps, yet who’s to say that the Impressionists of some eighty years earlier would not have achieved similar dissemination of their work: it certainly has since.
What is impressive to me is that her visual art has inspired at least two fado songs, a Portugese music genre which is in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. (Indonesians will surely be aware that fado was one of the roots of krongcong.)
This video features Maluda’s art.