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Maria João Salema (aka JOAO SALEMA) was born, and spent her childhood, in Mozambique, Africa. She later moved to Lisbon, Portugal, and studied at Faculdade de Belas Artes de Lisboa. Salema became an Assistant Professor at Escola Superior Artes Design, Caldas da Rainha, and was an Instructor at the prestigious art school, AR.CO. (Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual), Lisbon. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, since moving to the United States in 2003.

Salema’s work is held in the collections of Museu do Chiado, National Museum of Contemporary Art, and Culturgest, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Lisbon, Portugal, as well as numerous private collections.