(b. 1993, Pomfret, South Africa)





Teresa Firmino is a Johannesburg-based artist, whose work examines the construction of dominant histories and the absences they present. Firmino delves into the role of memory as the main repository of information for the act of rewriting histories. This act of rewriting unfolds through the artist’s multi-disciplinary process, where the layered interior scenes of her paintings alloy with acts of resistance to the hegemony of History that unfold in her performances.

Firmino was born (1993) in Pomfret, a former asbestos mine camp-turned military base in the North West province, where a group of former Angolan soldiers, who fought for the SANDF’s infamous 32 Battalion unit were relocated at the end of the South African Border War (1989). Her work surfaces from the collective trauma of the Pomfret community, and seeks to investigate the ongoing trauma African people continue to experience in the wake of colonisation, civil war and neo-liberal white supremacy.

Teresa Firmino studied at the University of the Witwatersrand (BAFA, 2016) (MFA, 2018) in Johannesburg. Recent solo presentations include: pseudo Restitution, World Art gallery, Cape Town (2019); Children of a Lesser God, Mmarthouse, Johannesburg (2019); The War At Home, Everard Read, Johannesburg (2019); Emergence ,  Mmarthouse, Johannesburg(2018); Pomfret community stories, Mmarthouse, Johannesburg (2018); Thou art women, Mmarthouse, Johannesburg (2018); The people’s exchange, IDC gallery, Johannesburg (2018); Now and then, Trent gallery, Pretoria (2018); Protagonist: Artists in Response to Sexual Violence, Studio Fracture, Johannesburg (2018). In 2020, Firmino presented Black Melancholy/ Negotiating Trauma at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, a series of paintings grappling with the ways women of the Pomfret community have survived, beyond the traumas enacted on their bodies.

Teresa Firmino also extends these questions of identity through a collective thinking process with artist and collaborator Helena Uambembe. Together, they form the collective: Kutala Chopeto meaning ‘to see beyond something soft’. Firmino’s project, is one invested in the recuperation of self through a confrontation with, and reconstruction of post-apartheid Southern African history.



Masters in Fine Arts –University of the Witwatersrand, 2018




UNISA School of Arts Conference. The History we are told not to Speak (The history of the Pomfret community)

Black Portraitures iii. The Untold Story of the Pomfret Community.Collective Exhibitions




Black Melancholy/ Negotiating Trauma. Investec Cape Town Art Fair Solo Booth

Intersections within the Global South. This is not a white cube gallery, Luanda


Pseudo Restitution. World Art gallery, Cape Town

The War At Home. Everard Read, Johannesburg




Feminism Ya Mang. Goethe Institute, Johannesburg

Territories Between Us Exhibition. IZIKO National Gallery, Cape Town


Summer. Everard Read, London

The Portrait Show. Everard Read, Johannesburg

Solo presentation, Cape Town Art Fair. Everard Read, Cape Town

Staring Straight into the Future . Everard Read, Johannesburg


Taxidermy of the future. Museu de Historia Natural de Luanda, Luanda

Turbine Art Fair. World Art Gallery, Cape Town

Cape Town Art Fair. Everard Read gallery


Emergence . Mmarthouse, Johannesburg

Masters solo show: Pomfret community stories. Mmarthouse Johannesburg

Thou art women. Mmarthouse, Johannesburg

The people’s exchange. IDC gallery, Johannesburg

Now and then. Trent gallery, Pretoria

Protagonist: Artists in Response to Sexual Violence. Studio Fracture, Johannesburg


14/15 exhibition, The Point Of Order, Johannesburg


The African Utopia lecture series, Johannesburg



Interview by Pes descalcos



The war at home

https://culture-review .co.za/the-war-at-home/