Ernani Silva, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has developed a distinctive style that contains abstract, Brazilian and African elements, laced with rich and vibrant color. Silva’s work reflects Brazilian cultural influence of African, Indian and European descent. Growing up on a hill in a settlement originally populated by African runaway slaves, Silva began painting at age fourteen and soon became convinced that painting was his destiny.
Soon after discovering that his destiny was tied to painting, he ran away from home to Bahia, “the backdoor of Yoruba and Condomble”, as he calls it, a reference to the African religion and its ceremonies and rituals. Enjoying the culture that Bahia offered, Ernani worked on improving his technique and in 1989 migrated to the United States. Since then in his own words his work has become “less primitive”, yet continues to reflect his homeland of Brazil in its various forms, feelings and moods. Ernani work sometimes borders on the mystical or bizarre and at other times his work is funny and satirical.
As Ernani Silva continues his journey as a career artist with over thirty years of experience, his semi – abstract paintings continue to evoke his cultural content of his native Brazil together with his African and Indian heritage. “Striking colors, rhythm and movement – at times he becomes a choreographer and purposefully directs the figures on the canvas and at other times, he is a storyteller documenting elements of his culture and folklore or an activist fighting for the preservation of disappearing peoples – all combine to produce a very visceral response in the viewer.”