Elizabeth Leite was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 21st 1982 and has resided in Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal, since 1989. In 2005 she finished her university degree in Painting in ARCA | EUAC (Escola Universitária das Artes de Coimbra) and in 2006 she attended a Master’s Degree in Aesthetic Communication in the same institution, achieving a final grade of 17. She attended a Master’s Degree in the Teaching of Visual Arts in Secondary Education as well, which was conducted by the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences and the Faculty of Fine Arts – University of Porto. In 2006 she started combining the job of teaching with the art of painting. At present she is a 100% dedicated to painting. She took the chance. She is brave. She is an example of pure resilience and willpower.
Over the past few years Elizabeth Leite’s artistic work has received several awards and special mentions and has aroused the interest of both a more specialized group and also the general public. She has regular individual and collective exhibitions and her work is sought by galleries and cultural institutions. Her ranks are real and her curriculum speaks for itself. The contingency of this drawing and painting show in Hotel Meira in Vila Praia de Âncora, where, for display reasons, the works are not over one metre high, is not related to the idiosyncratic relationship between Elizabeth Leite’s seaside palette and her dominant and dominated palette. No. It was an old wish to invest in the promotion and dissemination of this wonderful artist’s work, which shows us a world through intentionally used hand strokes, combined with drawings of perfect anatomy, highly connecting expressions and global compositions which the canvas interrupts, but they are able to exist not beyond imagination, but in the real set which is shown to us by using the paintbrush and the paint.
Elizabeth Leite’s art is prodigious and visceral. How does one combine prodigy and viscera in a painting? One does it by interrupting a silent space with stories and memories introduced in (dis)organized conversations of characters oddly related to our own child, family and emotional universe. Elizabeth Leite’s paintings cover a subject which has homely and everyday life as a benchmark with certain variations which come from a confrontation with the cruel and human reality, which is impossible to be indifferent to. The references and influences she takes from Paula Rego (born 1935) are irrefutable, not only in the bits which are beyond narratives, but also in the series which start from tales, stories and memories based on everyday life, and reinforce a conservative cultural heritage which we are unable to fight against. Even so, if we exclude the scale manipulation, we notice that Elizabeth Leite has a positive and resolved perspective on life. This is what we see through her work.
In such a suprising set as Hotel Meira we are shown drawings (some are unheard-of) and one-metre high paintings, all full of characters that will join the guests and bring the real world to their holiday ambience.
The truth is that we all see ourselves in the stories created by this artist, who is part of an English Neo-expressionist movement with some remnants of rural scenes, and is, above all, through her colour palette, the reflection of an ancient, resilient and dreamy soul.
Helena Mendes Pereira
shairart’s chief curator