Mónica de Miranda

The Island (film)

A film work exploring the relationships between our bodies, the past and the lands we inhabit through a black ecofeminist lens

ABOUT THE Commission

Autograph jointly commissioned Angolan-Portuguese artist Mónica De Miranda to create a 37-minute film work, The Island, contemplating the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives and Europe’s colonial past. Fusing fact and fiction, the film 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.

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, and urges us to develop a more conscious relationship between our bodies, the past and the lands we inhabit – and all that they hold – towards regenerative possible futures. 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.

An associated series of photographs was also commissioned by Autograph, as part of our project Amplify – Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters, supported by ArtFund.

Preview the Commission

Film still from The Island

Film still from The Island

The commission at Autograph

Film still from The Island

Film Trailer

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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on display

The commission is featured in de Miranda's exhibition Mirages and Deep Time in Lisbon


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


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


Award nomination

Nominated for the Best Short Film Award 2022 by Doclisboa International Film Festival

supported by


The artist received additional support from the following funding bodies in Portugal: A Outra Face da Lua, Fundação Ciência e Tecnologia, Foundation OBRAS, HANGAR - Centro de Investigação Artística, DGARTES and Ministério da Cultura.

Banner image: Mónica de Miranda, film still from The Island [detail], 2021. Single screen film, 37’36” min. Portuguese with English subtitles.

Preview the commission: Mónica de Miranda, film still from The Island, 2021. Single screen film, 37’36” min. Portuguese with English subtitles.
Trailer: Commissioned by Autograph for Amplify – Stranger in the Village. Afro European Matters (2021), supported by Art Fund.

Images on page: 1) Courtesy Mónica de Miranda. 2) Mónica de Miranda: The Island exhibition at Autograph. 24 June - 22 October 2022. Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy. Photograph by Kate Elliot. 3) Mónica de Miranda, Tide [detail], from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund. 4) Mónica de Miranda, Dressage [detail], from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund. 5) Mónica de Miranda, Mirror Me [detail], from The Island, 2021. Commissioned by Autograph. Supported by Art Fund.