visual artist

joana franco

‘I’m very interested in the medium of the body, and the materiality of the body’


Joana Franco (she/her), born in Ponta Delgada, Açores (2001), currently living and working in Groningen.


Joana works mainly with mixed media on canvas, with a focus on photography and her own body as material. She dislikes using paint and chooses to use chalk, wall-filler and raw pigments mixed with water instead.


Graduated from AKI/ArtEz in 2023 in Fine Art Painting. Is now doing her Master Degree in Painting at the Frank Mohr Institute. Joana started her career with a solo exhibition supported by the Young Creators award of the Walk&Talk festival in the Azores, since then she participated in group shows in Portugal and in The Netherlands.

Joana Franco (2001, Portugal) explores how painting can blur the boundaries between people, objects, and their environment. She sees painting not just as a flat image, but as something that shares the same space with the viewer, without making hierarchical distinctions. Although painting and drawing are typically considered two-dimensional, Joana challenges this by using different materials. She combines expressive substances like wall filler and chalk with flat surfaces like rice paper and canvas. These materials have symbolic meanings that can be freely interpreted by the viewer. Joana actively involves her own body in her work. Her process explores ideas about the body and its proportionality in relation to what exists beyond itself, what it influences, and what influences it. The fact that the artist’s body converges with photography and painting can be seen as a way to bring the artistic medium and the body to the same level of thought. In this process, the body is, in a sense, transformed into an image to make them equal in concept.

Joana was selected to exhibit her work at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, and until recently, her work was presented at the Cacaofabriek Expo in Hengelo.

Alter house collection


In Joana’s collection “Empty Space: Form’’, Joana works with photographsof her own body as if it is more than just the physical form we see. The clothing she wears becomes as empty as the white wall behind her. Joana seeks to explore what it means to be a part of the world as a humanand how our bodies create boundaries that confine our actions and movements to a particular shape. In other words, there is no part of us that exists beyond these confines. However, when we step outside of these boundaries, color outside the lines, this empty space around us can be embodied as something tangible and meaningful. These empty spaces then become vivid and affirmed components of reality.