When I first spoke with Miguel over email about his work in our Summer Exhibit, [Upheaval], I was struck by what a kind, genuine person he is. Miguel is an exceptional artist who uses his work as a way to connect others through image. He uses his work as a means to create “a new universal language.”. In doing so, he speaks to survivors through is pieces, offers them a space to see themselves reflected, and lets them know that they are not alone. Miguel’s dedication to spread healing through his artwork & his commitment to helping others, makes him one of our biggest inspirations for our daily work. 

– Allyce Torres (Marketing Coordinator) 

Allyce Torres

Marketing Coordinator

Question: What is your connection to Art & Art Making? How has it served you in your life? 

Answer:  I have this want to be connected- even with myself. I use the paintings and colours to solve this problem of feeling homesick for somewhere, from somebody, or even missing feelings or experiences. Once I start to paint, I begin to travel inside my inner, deep memories. It’s how I’ve learned to find what I’ve missed & always rember the importance of life and sharing my own memories.

It’s like reading a book- just let the imagination go & travel around those pages…

Q: What do you hope people who see or experiencce your art walk away with?

A: I’d love to share this idea from my own experience: I sincerely believe that, through Art, it is possible to create a new universal language. Everyone can understand the message, even different cultures, or languages.

I believe that through Art we can reach everyone- without frontiers or obstacles. If people could see that in my paintings, my work, for me that would be an honor, a privilege.  (Also I hope to share some pleasure and happiness through colours!)

Q: How did you find Awakenings? What has your connection to/relationship with Awakenings been like? 

A: I was looking for institutions that use art to help people, and I decided to send [Awakenings] an email aboout two or three years ago.  [They] answered me and since that moment we became friends, even if we’ve never met each other, but that’s the magic of internet!

[The relationship has been] absolutely extraordinary since the moment that we first got in touch.

My work, my paintings I offer you, are a very humble and simple way to help someone. I know this is just a drop in the ocean, but if we all gather together with good will and open arms, perhaps we will make a difference.

Q: Why do you think the mission of Awakenings is important? How does making visible the artistic expression of survivors impact our community at large?

A: Because of all the circumstances that victims are in & the consequences of this hard society that we live in, we all should be part of the solutions, rather than the problem.

It’s easy for the society overall to not take responsibility for these terrible problems, crimes. Some are even totally unaware. I think, in my humble opinion, that you and I, and everyone should be involved in finding a better way for all, and to do our best to serve the community. In doing that, we all may live in a better world.

I must say that I feel so proud that once, by chance, I’ve met [Awakenings]. They can always count on me, my work, my paintings to use as an instrument to help those who need it!


Miguel Baros was born in Lisbon in the year of 1962 and has triple citizenship: Canadian, Portuguese and Angolan.

In 2014, Miguel moved from Luanda, Angola in Africa, to Calgary, Alberta, where he is currently living. Now he is a Permanent Resident in Calgary!

The exposure to a whole new Continent has already trigger a new inspirational process that is clearly distinct from his past experiences, though quite complementary.

In 1975, Miguel’s family moved to Brazil for a year. This experience made Miguel decide to invest his education in the Arts.

He holds a degree in Interior Architecture and Design, from IADE (Lisbon, Portugal), 1984.

He has designed china for Vista Alegre, after winning the National Design Award in Portugal in 1984.

From 1987 till 1999, Miguel has worked in an institution whose goal was to help drug addicts in their recovering process. Miguel was in charge of the Painting and Drawing Atelier where he combined his artistic and human relation skills to create programs to help the recovery of the participants.

During this period, India has drawn Miguel imagination and inspiration. Moved by this motivation, Miguel has made several trips to India, spending there long periods of time on each of his trips. As a consequence, the East has become a recurrent subject in his paintings.

In 2008, Miguel decided to move to Angola, Africa, where he has lived 6 years. This African experience, very close to his family roots, created a new cycle in his professional career, again becoming a significant presence in his paintings.

Miguel Barros’ art’s ways between harmony and conflict. He avoids the easy mirroring of the reality, but his modern spirit makes an “interior world” come to surface, showing its true colours and an insightful look upon life and the surrounding entities.

Each year, Miguel profits from his full dedication to art, refining his technique as well bringing more of himself as each new work is presented. His work has grown through the years in artistic sensibility and has become a reference in several places around the World.

Miguel’s paintings clearly reflect a fundamental connection with Art. His work seems to be his soul handwriting a letter to the observer of his art, in a message full of emotions and intention that materialize into colours and apparently shapeless forms. If each one of us keeps an open spirit to Miguel’s work, it’s almost impossible to avoid a wave of warmth and pleasure coming from his paintings.

His work confirms Miguel’s talented skills specially the way he uses old techniques in an original way to convey is vision of the world. Miguel’s thoughts, ideas, concepts are full of passion and energy and are presented in a refreshing and clear way, though there is also a clear invitation to mediate on the mysteries of art and philosophy.

Miguel Barros’ works are in several public and private collections in several countries around the world: Portugal, Angola, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, United States, India, Lebanon and Mozambique, Australia, Sweden, South Africa.