Maria Lusitano-Santos

"Scattered Cartographies (Moving away from home, Now it was just make believe)"

These two pieces are video diaries, essays discussing problems of migration, living in diaspora, utopia and constructed reality, displacement. Based on the artist’s personal experience (move from Portugal to Sweden), both video works reflect on the issue: what constitutes ‘home’? Her approach to the problem and attempt to answer the question: “How to create a new identity?” is very important for the exhibition. This is sort of basis for the discussion on the concept of European identity, bringing us closely to the question: Can Europe play the role of home? What are the conditions of this process?

« The films intertwine my own and my son’s stories with those of other Portuguese emigrants. In these films we engage in conversations that aim to depict our dreams and experiences. To contemplate the challenges of migration through art, makes one articulate the differences that exist in a Europe that is struggling to build a European identity ».

. Maria Lusitano Santos

Maris work is characterized mainly by the use of video. She develops projects based upon previous artistic research that appropriate the methodologies of sociology, history and documentary filmmaking. Her current interests deal with historical utopias, the diasporic experience. Maris participated in 2004 in Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, and in 2006 in Photo Espana 6 Madrid. She has since then exhibited regularly in several national and international artistic events, such as LundsKonstHall, Sweden, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, 29th Biennial of Sao Paulo, (2010), Joshibi University,Tokyo, Fine Art University of Seul, Korea, and various others exhibitions, In Portugal she participated in exhibitions in Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Serralves Foundation and various other places.

Maria Lusitano-Santos - Oficial Site


/ My european story

To contemplate the challenges of migration through art, makes one articulate the differences that exist in a Europe that is struggling to build a European identity.

I was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1971 but my relationship to a Europe bigger than my bit of land, was from the very beginning very intense. Portugal had lots of emigrants, and in my dreamworld I was living always abroad, at a “sunny” place much better than the one of reality. Around 12 I started to develop an intense interest towards Sweden due to the way this countrty was described as a welfare state , concerned with all its citizens. And I even wrote to the Swedish embassy when I was 13, because I wanted to learn Swedish. From that moment on, Sweden became an utopia to me, of a perfect place. Curiously, that same year, I began watching a science fiction series, and intensely thought that if the extra terrestrials came to invite me to move with them, I would happily go. My desiring better world was expanding to outside of the planet earth. Then, when I was 17, I started to really “move around”. And from then on, I never stoped.

My first move, to the United States, was lived in a quite cinematographic way, and I remember arriving into the humid heat of New York, as if I was steoing into some kind of film. I went there due to an exchange program that happened in my final year of high school and I went to California, where I lived with a Jewish family from San Diego. That year was like living inside of a movie. Afterwards, I returned to Portugal, but soon would leave again to live in Italy and in Spain, during college. From those places it is quite striking that I never remember being or feeling that I was a foreigner.

The notion of foreigneness only happened afterwards, in 2007 after my son was born, when I moved to Sweden. My childhood dream place, was now becoming a real place, and with my heart full of hope I remember the September rainy day, of my arrival to Malmö with a 4 year old. I wanted to change my life. And I did it. The thing is, my life changed in a way I wasn’t expecting. In Sweden I became a foreigner, but also a Sweden based artist.

I feel European, of course, but I felt it more than ever, when I lived in the United States, when I was 17. Now I just turned 40, and I live in between Malmö and London. During the summer I stay in Lisbon. And to be honest, I deeply see myself as a Portuguese, even though my son goes to the Swedish school in London, and says he is a Swede that lives in London. My moving around in search for a place in the sun, changed though. I believe that place of change, is inside of me now, and it can be achieved anywhere.

I like the idea of a United States of Europe, because it is an idea that transmits a desire, a wish, a positive and nice plan of the building up of some solidarity among a large continent with a charged and conflicted history. But more than a USE, I like to think of myself as part of the CSW: that confederation of states of the world of my favorite sci fi tv series that I loved so much when I was a kid. That is even a nicer dream, and an articulation of a hope, and a plan for a shared future for mankind.