'Manuel Bonifacio: My Imaginary Cave' will be in the Studio at Pallant House Gallery from 29 April – 1 June 2014. It is the fourth solo show in a series celebrating the six Award Winners of Outside In: National 2012.
Born in December 1947 near Lisbon, Portugal, Bonifacio pursued his interest in drawing and pottery after dropping out of school at the age of eight. His most recent collection of work, which features the award winning Mermaid and a selection of pottery, is inspired by his passion for archaeology and animals. Bonifacio paints, draws, sculpts and makes at ArtVenture – a creative day centre for adults with learning difficulties – for four hours every Wednesday and Friday. Since his Award win, Bonifacio has exhibited in Birmingham and London and now has work in collections in Switzerland and New York. In recognition of Bonifacio’s talent, an Outsider Art collector will be travelling over from Switzerland to attend this much-anticipated exhibition.
At a young age, Bonifacio joined the fire brigade as a volunteer and his life’s ambition was to be in the army. Many of his works reflect his passion for army transportation, depicting helicopters, aeroplanes, motorbikes and boats. His work is also inspired by politics and everything he sees on television, but most of it comes straight from his colourful imagination.
Keen to explore and take on a challenge, Bonifacio has previously experimented with printmaking and wood carving and he occasionally dabbles in watercolours and oils. His portfolio also includes an array of distinctive ceramic mugs, vessels and faces. Walking from Cobham to Kingston regularly – a 20 minute drive – Bonifacio notes down road names, makes sketches and absorbs nature and life, which are ever present in his work. One of his figures was inspired by a statue on a roundabout in his hometown, but more generally, the characters he so vividly creates come straight from his mind. There is a sense that he could conjure anything; a donkey, a bullfighter, various forms of transport.
Image: Manuel Bonifacio, Motorbike & City