Ana Maria Pacheco in the National Gallery
This work is a record of Ana Maria Pacheco’s time as the fourth Associate Artist working at the National Gallery. Born in Brazil in 1943 and living in England since 1971, she was both the first non-European and the first sculptor to hold the post. Pacheco’s work draws directly on some of the great themes of the National Gallery’s Collection: metamorphosis; the struggle between good and evil; the narratives of Christianity; and legends such as the story of Saint Sebastian. Her art echoes the rich diversity of Brazilian culture steeped in Roman Catholic tradition – with an admixture of African art reminding one of the slave trade’s links with Brazil; an art education system promoting international modernism; and a highly developed sense of national identity. Pacheco’s long residence in Britain has added many other elements to the mixture, leading to a totally independent trajectory as an artist, unmoved by fashion. The National Gallery has always been a resource for artists, and the Associate Artist scheme makes it possible for one artist to delve deeply into the collection, absorbing the lessons of the art of the past on a daily basis. In this book, Ana Maria Pacheco shows how varied and powerful the results of such appropriation can be.