Mónica de Miranda

The Island

Artist Mónica de Miranda contemplates the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives, relationships to the land and colonial pasts

about the commission

Angoloan-Portuguese artist and filmmaker Mónica de Miranda's research-led practice is grounded in postcolonial politics in relation to Africa and its diaspora. 

For Autograph’s commissioning project Amplify – Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters, de Miranda created a new series of photographs titled The Island, contemplating the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives and Europe’s colonial past, alongside a trailer for the associated film work. Fusing fact and fiction, The Island explores a long trajectory of black presences in Portugal by bringing together intertwined narratives – drawing on African liberation movements, migratory experiences, and identity formations through a black feminist lens. The commission is now on display in a new exhibition at Autograph's gallery in London.

Using film and photography, de Miranda deploys the metaphor of the island as a utopian place of isolation, refuge, and escape: a space for collective imaginings that speak to new and old freedoms. Anchored in cultural affinities and ecofeminism, the artist considers soil as an organic repository of time and memory, where ancestral and ecological trauma linked to colonial excavations continue to unfold. The Island urges us to develop a more conscious relationship between our bodies, the past and the lands we inhabit – and all they hold – towards possible regenerative futures.

Autograph invited art historian Taous R. Dahmani to produce a short essay responding to the commission, published alongside an in-conversation with the artist and Autograph’s senior curator Renée Mussai.

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view the commission

Double Force

Mirror Me

Mirror Me




Mirror Me


Mirror Me


Ecologies of Care - Birthing Afrodiasporic Ecofeminist Futures

The artist in conversation with Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai

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The Fighter in the Looking Glass

Taous R. Dahmani considers the use of mirrors and reflections in The Island

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about the artist

Mónica de Miranda

is an Angolan Portuguese visual artist, filmmaker and researcher who works and lives between Lisbon and Luanda. Her work – which incorporates photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation – investigates postcolonial politics of geography, history, and subjectivity in relation to Africa and its diaspora through a critical spatial arts practice.

Often conceptual and research-based, de Miranda is interested in the convergence of socio-political narratives, gender, and memory at the boundaries between fiction and documentary.

De Miranda is affiliated with the University of Lisbon where she is engaged on projects dealing with ethical and cultural aspects of contemporary migration movements linked to lusophone Africa, such as Post-Archive: Politics of Memory, Place and Identity, and Visual Culture, Migration, Globalization and Decolonization.  She holds post and undergraduate degrees in art and arts education from Camberwell College of Arts and the Institute of Education in London, and a doctorate in Visual Art from the University of Middlesex. De Miranda is a co-founder of the artist residency project Triangle Network in Portugal and in 2014, she founded Hangar – Center for Artistic Research in Lisbon

Her works have been exhibited internationally, including at the 12th Berlin Biennale (2022); Bienalsur – International Contemporary Art Biennial from the South (2020); Houston FotoFest Biennial (2020); Lubumbashi Biennale (2020); Dakar Biennale (2016); Bamako Encounters African Biennale of Photography (2016); and the 14th Architecture Biennale of Venice (2014) as well as in museums and galleries such as the Pera Museum in Istanbul (2017) and Caixa Cultural in Rio de Janeiro (2017). Her work is represented in public collections including The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon, Portugal.

You can follow the artist on Instagram and see more of de Miranda's work on her website.

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part of the project

Amplify — Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters

Autograph's commissioning project considering contemporary Afrodiasporic experiences in Europe, supported by the Art Fund.

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De Miranda's commission is currently being exhibited at Autograph's gallery in London


The Island has been accessioned into Autograph's collection of photography, available for research and loans


on display

Works from the commission are in de Miranda's exhibition Mirages and Deep Time in Lisbon

new texts

The new artworks have been contextualised with an academic text and curatorial interview

limited edition print

The artist has donated a Limited Edition print from the commission to raise funds for Autograph's work


The commission will feature in a forthcoming book about de Miranda's practice

with art fund support

Banner image: Mónica de Miranda, Whistle for the Wind [detail], from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund.

Images on page: 1-8) Works from Mónica de Miranda's commission, The Island, 2021. 9) Mónica de Miranda, The Island, 2021. Trailer, 1’09” min. Portuguese with English subtitles. Commissioned by Autograph.

Part of the project: Jeannette Ehlers, We're Magic. We're Real. #5 From Sunset to Sunrise [detail], 2021-22. © the artist. Courtesy of / Commissioned by Autograph for Amplify – Stranger in the Village. Afro European Matters, (2021) Supported by Art Fund.

Discover more images: 1) Mónica de Miranda, Untitled from the series City-scapes, 2017. 2) Othello De'Souza-Hartley, Absence [detail] from Blind, but I can See, 2020, © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 3) Installation view of Mónica de Miranda: The Island exhibition at Autograph, London. 24 Jun – 22 Oct 2022. Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy. Photograph by Kate Elliott. 4) Zanele Muholi, Bayephi III, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg, 2017 [detail]. Commissioned by Autograph © and courtesy Zanele Muholi. 5) Rotimi Fani-Kayode works on display at the Guggenheim. Photographs by David Heald and © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.