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Photography (MA)

Rita Silva

Rita Silva (b.1995, Portugal)

I was born in a village in the north of Portugal where I grew up surrounded by very superstitious people. Rituals and spells for healing and protection against the evil eye were quite present in my family and in my upbringing, but I never thought much about it.

There was this memory of you that I always thought it was a dream.

✩°。⋆⸜(ू˙꒳​˙ )v

When my body started attacking itself, my research and practice started to dwell into epigenetic, exploring bodies that are linked genetically and through time.

They told me you were the witch and the healer of our village. I'm now trying to get closer to you.

They told me about the lightness of your hands. I'm now trying to reach them.


Above: Detail of They told me about the lightness of your hands - 2021

Below: Portrait of Three Women: Grandmother, Mother and I - 2021

Degree Details

School of Arts & Humanities

Photography (MA)

I’ve been trying to tell this story many times. My memories are scattered all over the floor and I’m trying to pick them up, dust them off, and put them on a shelf. They slip from my hands to the floor, I pick them up and clean the dirt again, maybe this time they can safely stand there, but they keep slipping, and I keep picking them up. After some time, I don’t remember whose memories are mine anymore. Does this one I’m holding belong to you? Is it mine now?

Is my life really my life? ¹ 

Does this body really belong to me?

“How much of what we remember is simply ours?” ²

I collect these memories, these poems, these definitions and texts and I puzzle them together, to know you better, to know myself better. I’m not trying to find one conclusive answer, the more I ask the more questions emerge.

¹ “Nothing is ours, not even us.” Boyer, Anne, The Handbook of Disappointed Fate, narrated by Sky Gooden (Ugly Duckling Press and Bookdance, 2019) [audiobook].

² Binns, Polly, Textures of memory: The Poetics of Cloth (Nottingham: Angel Row Gallery, 1999) p. 10.

The Cellar - 2020 — 50x50 fiber based print
Just Passing Through - 2021 // Stabbed Heart - 2020
Do you feel it, mother? - 2021 // Do you see it, mother? - 2021
Around Noon, grandma washes her face - 2020
Matrilineal Mythologies

Matrilineal Mythologies is a collaboration between Jesse May Fisher (Contemporary Art Practice) Paola Estrella (Contemporary Art Practice) Katrina Wilde (Textiles) and Rita Silva (Photography). The launch of the collaboration will take place live on the 3rd of July, at 10:30 am BST.

Drawing from previous research anchored in tacit knowledge passed down through maternal lines, each artist brings an offering to the table. Through a cycle of repetition and closure, an embodied conversation is performed. Text, material, sound and the body become conduits for practical magic. 

Honouring entangled stories within intimate gestures, the everyday is elevated as current threads of our research are closed.

Medium: Event and video-performance

My dissertation Does if look like I'm here was a starting point for the practice work I developed during my two years at RCA.

Click here to read it