Rio de Janeiro, 1981
Lives and works between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Panmela Castro is a visual artist dedicated to promoting human rights, in particular gender equality. Said born in Pindorama lands and supported by her decolonial-based thinking, she aims at the sustainability of the Common House, the Earth, from the leadership of women, blacks, indigenous people, LGBTQIA +, people with disabilities, in addition to other groups that have historically been distanced of spaces of power and decision.
Subverting the elitist and sexist logic of the art world, she propagated her work in institutions around the world, in addition to the grassroots work in communities, from person to person, which she originally set out to develop.
A survivor of domestic violence, Panmela has been developing art, art-education and graffiti public murals for nearly 20 years to raise awareness about the end of gender violence, especially through the NAMI Network, an organization founded by her and which had a direct impact on lives of more than 10,000 people, mainly black women, in Rio de Janeiro. Panmela's work promotes structural changes in society, bringing knowledge through art and communication so that girls and women know how to fight for their rights. "What unites all my production are the ideas I explore from my experiences and exchange with others, including my work as a social activist, through the NAMI Network, which is my practical contribution to people's lives, especially women, whether cisgender or transgender,” says Panmela.
Author of a confessional work, Panmela grew up as an artist and developed her trajectory based on marginal experiences in the Rio suburbs, such as graffiti, funk dances and train surfing. Thus, she became interested in the dialogue that her body, seen as female, established with the city, dedicating herself to building works based on personal experiences, in search of a reciprocal affection with the other with a similar experience. The core of the artist's concerns is described by her as “alterity and belonging: the work is always about love, about the relationship with the other, it is about my existence experienced through the existence of the other”.
In addition to leading a concise international trajectory in the human rights and academic sectors, her visual arts production has already been exhibited in museums around the world, such as the Stedelijk Museum (Netherlands) which recently acquired one of her works for its permanent collection – one of the most important contemporary art in Europe. The artist also participates in collections such as: Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA- Miami); Jorge M. Pérez Collection; IDB Art Collection – Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Urban Nation Museum, Berlin, Germany; Rio de Janeiro Art Museum (MAR), Republic Museum, Anita Mantuano Foundation for Arts of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FUNARJ), Furnas Cultural Space, Furnas Centrais Elétricas, in Rio de Janeiro; São Paulo State Art Gallery, MAB FAAP, Armando Álvares Penteado Brazilian Art Museum, in São Paulo; The United Nations Art Collection, UN Women, Chamber of Deputies Museum, Brasília.
Recent exhibitions include: 'Ostentar é estar viva', Luisa Strina Gallery (São Paulo), 'O Canto do Bode', Comporta House of Culture (Portugal), 'Engraved into the body", Tanya Bonakdar (New York), 'Black Encyclopedia', at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, in 2021; ‘Rua’, Museu de Arte do Rio (Rio de Janeiro), ‘Ocupação Lavra’, Centro de Artes Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro), in 2020; ‘Aparelho’, Maus Hábitos (Portugal), '360 Degree Exhibition′, Museu da República (Rio de Janeiro), ‘Palavras Somam’, FAAP Brazilian Art Museum (São Paulo), in 2019; 'Street Type', Caixa Cultural DF (Brasilia), in 2018; 'Frestas Trienal de Artes', Sesc Sorocaba (São Paulo), ‘Urban Nation Museum Permanent Collection’, Urban Nation Museum (Berlin), in 2017; 'Das Virgens em Cardumes e da Cor das Auras', Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea (Rio de Janeiro), 'Synopsis of an Urban Menoir', Andrew Freedman Complex (New York), 'Vinyl Vandals', C'mon Everybody (New York) in 2016.
The artist was nominated for the Select Arte Educação Award, and for the Pipa Award in 2020. She was on the list 'The Next Generation of Activists Making a Difference', W Magazine, in 2016; named 'Young Global Leader' at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, in 2013; received the DVF Award, The Diller - Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, New York, USA; and made the ‘150 Women That Are Shaking The World’ list, Newsweek Magazine, in 2012.