22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Francisco Sousa Lobo

Portrait Francisco Sousa Lobo
© Hartwig Klappert

The Portuguese comic artist Francisco Sousa Lobo was born in 1973 in Mozambique. He studied architecture in Lisbon from 1992 to 1999, was an Erasmus grant recipient in Venice in 1997, completed his Master of Fine Arts at the Royal College of Art in London from 2005 to 2007, and was a doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths College from 2011 to 2016.

In 2013, he published his graphic novel »The Dying Draughtsman / O Desenhador Defunto« in English and Portuguese. The book is about the Portuguese man Francisco Koppens, who has moved to London and is falling deeper and deeper into a depressive and paranoid state. The initial letters of his name thus remind the reader of Kafka. Sousa Lobo designed the graphic novel using black and pink planes and strong lines. »›The Dying Draughtsman‹ is a parallel story to my own. The character does erotic comics stories as a private compulsion and goes crazy due to Catholic guilt. Perhaps it constitutes a meditation on art and madness, but I don’t know. It certainly helped me personally, as catharsis and as a means to finding a voice.« Inspired by a week-long visit to a remote Carthusian monestary, in the same year Sousa Lobo created »Desert / Cloud«. Sousa Lobo was commissioned by the Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual art school in Lisbon and the Portuguese Ministry of Science to produce a graphic novel about the human brain: In »The Upper Room / O Andar de Cima« (2014), the protagonist is denied sleep by the police and goes crazy. In his graphic novel »The Care of Birds / O Cuidado dos Pássaros« (2015) Sousa Lobo tackles the topic of pedophilia, telling the story of a man named Peter Hickey, a »godless, Catholic pervert« and pedophilia-inclined ornithologist. The simple, monochrome illustrations illustrate his inner turmoil. As a child, Peter was sexually abused, but he also found enjoyment in bird-watching, a passion that he now wants to introduce to the children in his environment in an effort to rewrite his own past. At the same time, the bird-watching reflects the tightrope he walks in his relationship to the prepubescent boys: The fact that he captures birds in order to draw them raises the question of when a behavior can be deemed invasive and damaging.

Sousa Lobo was artist-in-residence of the British AA2A from 2008 to 2009 and of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal from 2005 to 2007. He has won all of the major comics prizes – Amadora BD (best comic and best comic in a foreign language) and the Comic Con Portugal prize. In 2003, he was awarded the Award for Excellence from the American Society for News Design. Sousa Lobo has lived in London since 2005.