March 16, 2024

A 10-Year-Old Adventist Artist Will Exhibit Two Paintings at the Louvre

Here’s how Sophia Helena has managed to take her art from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Isabella Anunciaçao, South American Division, and Adventist Review
Sophia Helena Moreira de Oliveira is 10 years old and already an award-winning artist. [Photo: courtesy of the Moreira de Oliveira family]

Sophia Helena Moreira de Oliveira’s story begins at Jacarepaguá Adventist School, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she displayed above average artistic abilities when she was just 6 years old. Her teacher at the time contacted Sophia’s mother and asked her to invest in this gift. No one could have imagined that a few years later, that this little girl would have the opportunity to display her paintings at the Louvre in France, the most visited museum in the world.

At just 10 years old, Sophia was selected in an international competition, and two of her works will be exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre, a space dedicated to new talents. The exhibition will take place in October 2024.

Madureira is a traditional neighborhood in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, part of the Rio Sul Conference (ARS), the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the south-central region of Rio de Janeiro.

ARS president Geovane Souza said he is amazed by the girl’s talent. “When we see children discovering their talents and giving them to Jesus, we feel ecstatic and with a sense of mission accomplished,” Souza said.

An Early Start

Dolls or video games don’t get as much of Sophia’s attention as drawing or painting. One of her first teachers was also the first to notice her talent. “Her teacher was instrumental in this process,” Daniele Moreira, the girl’s mother, said. “She was the one who advised me to invest in her gift.” Now Moreira is excited because she knows her daughter will have an experience that will impact the rest of her life.

For Sophia, this experience is just the beginning of the many achievements God has in store for her life. When she received the news that she had been chosen for the exhibition she had mixed feelings. “I felt anxious and afraid, but at the same time confident,” she said. “I try to leave all worries about my future in God’s hands, because I know that He will guide my life.”

At 7, Sophia asked her mother to buy her a canvas and, from there, she found herself in the world of art. One of her first paintings was the figure of Jesus, which was exhibited at a fair hosted by the Adventurers’ Club.

At 9, she started taking painting classes in a studio and had her first exposure to professional painting using acrylic paint. “On the first day, I painted my first canvas, called ‘A House in Nova Friburgo,’” she said.

Now, Sophia often paints landscapes, animals, and abstract images with acrylic paint. According to her, she intends to inspire the observer to have “joy, positive thoughts, and get interested in art and culture.”

A Divine Gift

Raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home, Sophia has always been involved in church activities, and with her gift, she can find different ways to show the love of Jesus, she said. “Wherever I am, I can bear witness to Jesus with my words, my actions, and putting God first in my life,” she said.

For Robledo Moraes, director of the Adventist Education Network in the south-center of Rio de Janeiro, Adventist education is committed to helping students discover their gift and apply it in an honorable way. “In 2018, I had the opportunity to have a meeting with Dr. Cristina Delou. She is one of Brazil's foremost authorities on high skills,” Moraes said. “Delou mentioned that in every school, it is likely that there are some students with higher-than-average abilities,” Moraes said. “Finding these students and providing a means for them to develop is a challenge, but Adventist education is committed to it.”

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division news site.