gal-dem caught up with the 19-year-old Brazilian artist, Giovana Rodrigues. There is something otherworldly, yet very real about her work; Gio explores themes of black feminism, female empowerment and social issues through her vibrant, pastel-coloured designs.

pizza girl

Where does the inspiration behind your work lie?

My inspiration comes from my experience, everything that goes on around me, especially of people. I like very much to get references on instagram, on pinterest, in songs, movies, books, groups that often deal with social issues and that I participate [in], and other artists. I love Brazilian artists who work a lot with women empowerment, with feminism.

grl pwr-2

Your artwork manages to be political while satirical, would you say all of your work is a reflection on your thoughts and feelings or more observations of the world around you, or both?

I like to get involved with social issues, and my focus was always the black feminism and racism. We (black women) have a huge lack of [representation], and I wanted to work with something on top of it. And I already drew a long time ago but I felt insecure, so after militancy and empowerment I decided I needed to do that; that’s when I started working on top of [representation], and unwittingly ended up depositing social criticism that annoyed me, but always subtly and comically. So, it comes from within, but has a huge job of empathy, I use what I feel, and what other women feel, and try to reflect that in the drawings.

Jaloo

How long have you been creating this beautiful work for, and when did it begin, was there a particular moment in time, or is this something you have been doing for a while?

[I’ve been] drawing for a long time, since childhood, I just [didn’t] know what target. I had desire to work with political themes, but didn’t know how. After getting involved in groups that promote debates and, when I noticed the drawings already carried a political charge, I felt that I had to show the black woman, the woman outside the default. So I decided to show them. [For] a few months, I’ve posted random drawings, but they were always about cute girls that we’re used to seeing, nothing new or anything that would make [a] difference, and that makes me very discouraged, so I lost the fear and started posting [on] Instagram and Facebook.

free wifi

Is drawing something which you do full-time, or do you have other commitments to juggle, and if so how do you manage it?

Now that I finished [at the] faculty of graphic design and I quit my old job, I do full time. However, [I don’t] always post frequently, have a [break] of two or three days [for] drawing because they are many ideas. Sometimes I get [many] without knowing how to work with all of them at once, and I have to stop and get organised before I waste time.

disco voador no white

What are your hopes/aspirations for the future? Where do you see your art going – are you concerned about it at all?

For now I’m letting it flow. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m very happy to have my work recognised, if only [by] a few people. I plan to apply everything [to] clothing and articles for decoration, but I want to do something bigger. My focus has always been to bring representation and empowerment for black women, especially, and I intend to work better with other social issues that bother me, [such] as the violence the LGBT+ community is suffering, the question of genre, aesthetic standard, etc. Where this will take me I don’t know; I care about doing important social work, recognise that it’s not as big as need be to mobilise many people, but it’s just the beginning. I am very grateful for the space that you gave me.

Gio’s work can be found on InstagramFacebook and Tumblr.