Joao Ladeira

Joao Ladeira

(1st floor / Ellis House / Johannesburg)

(1st floor / Ellis House / Johannesburg)

A contemporary artist whose works comment on current affairs and particularly on issues affecting the migration of people around the world due to socio-political and economic instability, in particular in the African continent. Ladeira’s art exposes the human side of displaced people on the continent of Africa.


In his recent works, Ladeira tries to capture some challenges that some migrants go through, as in his latest solo exhibition “Crossing Over”. Here Ladeira explores the spiritual meaning in the face of life and death. He tries to capture the transition (of the soul) from one location to another or the transition to the unknown as a social condition. The physical space is transformed into a spiritual realm dissociated from a physical condition. A space that becomes like a stage, where the figures are stripped from all possessions leaving the subjects bare.


Ladeira uses African batiks within the context of post-colonialism integration or representation. Globalisation has brought a multiplicity of languages and cultures, so as an artist, Ladeira feels that creativity within the context of contemporary art, cannot exist without the element of openness to socio-political and cultural, as well as the appropriation of history as a form of celebration, and enrichment of values.


In this post-colonial Africa, what was previously known as a product of colonialism and trade has become an integral part of African fashion. Within this framework, African batik, therefore, is used by the artist as a tool for African new identity and pride


Ladeira uses different techniques in his canvas, such as drawings, painting and collage. The figures are made of drawings most of the time defaced, with directional lines that forms a unique texture.


The latest series of works by Ladeira are a comment on the migrant’s crisis at the Mediterranean Sea. Every year thousands of African migrants try to cross the sea to Europe and many perish in the Sea. Migrants who come mostly from Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, the Gambia, Mali and Nigeria, are often smuggled on the flimsy boats that offers little security; if not at all, which often ends in a tragedy of shipwreck.


Ladeira creates these works as a tool for awareness of this often-forgotten tragedy. The works aims to give face to the faceless, voice to the voiceless, and name to the nameless. From the artist own words “it is a way to honour particularly those who die trying to cross the Sea”.

recent work