Born on November 5th, 1953 in São Paulo, the capital city of the state of São Paulo in Brazil, Menna Barreto began drawing in 1960. From that time through 1962 she attended a Junior Art school. 

At the age of 16 she became a student at the painting school of Waldemar da Costa (a well known artist who has received a very important prize at the São Paulo Biennial) where she studied for one year. 

From 1974 to 1980 she taught English and at the same time she was a participant in the art competitions in various cities. As a result of her participation in these contests she received many prizes. 

In 1980 she began studying at the studio of Luiz Portinari (Cândido Portinari’s brother), in the Cândido Portinari Art Center in São Paulo. During her time there she learned about artistic life and artistic trends, and heard many stories about the great painters, writers and poets who had lived at the time of Portinari. Luiz Portinari introduced her to the work of Max Ernst, De Chirico, Magritte and Paul Delvaux. After this time with Portinari her work took a surrealistic direction. This was a conclusive phase in her career as she began to develop her inmost creative side, and learned how to solve technical problems on her own. 

Three years later, when the course was over, Sônia installed her studio in her home and began her first works as a professional artist. In 1989 she made her first solo exhibit in São Paulo which was a success with both the public and art critics. In 1991, the artist started her serigraph production. Those serigraphs were introduced in 1995 in the biggest travelling solo exhibit ever to be realized in the country, covering 12 cities.

The artist Sônia Menna Barreto, has been focusing her artistic production on the expression nearest to homo ludens, the lucid man. Her creative spirit has searched for places and characters who inhabit the imagination of people of all ages.

Her technique has its origins in the Flemish painters of the fifteenth century, mixing hyper-realism with details of the French technique of Trompe L’oeil. Her works are present in private collections in the world.

For the first time ever, the artistic work of a Brazilian was made a part of the British Royal Collection in October, 2002. This is one of the most important art collections in the world. The painting “Leonard Cheshire” by Sônia Menna Barreto was presented at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

 
When someone looks at my paintings and smiles, it means that they have understood, at least a portion of the meaning of it and so I have reached my goal. I want to amuse the viewer. There's always a story behind the images that I paint and there's always a humorous situation in the story. That is why I've chosen surrealism and trompe l'oeil.

I always mix past and present - always. My technique (oil on linen on hardboard ) is ancient ( XVI century - from the Netherlands ), and the information and the image are new.

In a average year I produce 10 originals ( usually ), from which I create my serigraphs and my giclées . Each original demands my full attention and energy from its inception to my final brush stroke - approximately a month and a half later.
• 1980 Brazilian Association of Drawing and Visual Arts of Rio de Janeiro Citation (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

• 1981 IV Itu Fine Arts Salon - Artistic Merit (Itu, Brazil) 1982 I Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes Fine Arts Competition - Silver Medal (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1983 II Itu Plastic Arts Salon - Gold Medal (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1983 X “Primeira Mão” a Fine Arts Competition for young artists - Acquistion Award; also the winner of the Annual Award (Santos,  Brazil)

• 1983 II Araraquara Fine Arts Competition-Acquisition Award; also the winner of the Annual Award. (Araraquara, Brazil)

• 1983 II Ararense Fine Arts Competition - Merit of Honor (Araras, Brazil)

• 1984 I Fine Arts Free Competition Salon - Workshop do Carmo (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1984 XXXIV Belas Artes Official Salon of Juiz de Fora City- Silver Medal (Juiz de Fora, Brazil)

• 1984 III Araraquara Fine Arts Competition - Gold Medal (Araraquara, Brazil)

• 1984 Contemporary Art Center Salon-considered the artist presenting the best composition - Gold Medal (Paris, France)

• 1984 II São José do Rio Preto Contemporary Art Salon - Gold Medal (São José do Rio Preto, Brazil)

• 1984 I Fine Arts Free Competition Salon - Silver Medal (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1984 VII Itu Fine Arts Competition Salon - Bronze Medal (Itu, Brazil)

• 1989 Solo Exhibit at André Art Gallery (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1990 12th Annual Art-Expo, Jacob Javits Convention Center (New York, USA)

• 1992 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1993 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1994 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1995 Solo Exhibit at André Art Gallery (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1996 Ambassador Galleries in NY begins to represent the artist

• 1997 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1997 Annual Art-Expo, Jacob Javits Convention Center (New York, USA)

• 1997 Annual Art-Expo, Los Angeles Convention Center (L.A., USA)

• 1998 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1998 Annual Art-Expo, Jacob Javits Convention Center (New York, USA)

• 1998 Solo Exhibit at Casa das Artes Gallery (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 1999 Annual Art-Expo, Jacob Javits Convention Center (New York, USA)

• 1999 Chapel Art Show - First Prize (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 2000 Annual Art-Expo, Jacob Javits Convention Center (New York, USA)

• 2000 The 2000 Yellow Springs Art Show (Chester Springs, USA)

• 2000 Expo Antiquaria ( Buenos Aires, Argentina)

• 2001 23rd Annual Art-Expo, (New York, USA)

• 2001 Yellow Springs Art Show (Chester Springs, USA)

• 2001 Exhibition: JM Gallery (New York, USA)

• 2001 International Festival “Bravissimo” - Brasilart (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

• 2002 Exhibition: Galeria Mali Villas Boas (Sâo Paulo, Brazil)

• 2002 Shell Project– Royal Collection (London, England)

• 2003 Exhibition: Espaço Arte M. Mizrahi (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 2003 Exhibition: Opus Galeria de Arte (Salvador, Brazil)

• 2005 Exhibition: “Efeitos Lusos Contemporâneos Brasileiros” (Torres Vedras, Portugal)

• 2006 Exhibition: Galeria Um Lugar ao Sol (Curitiba, Brazil)

• 2007 Exhibition “Sônia Menna Barreto – Pintora de Fantasias” – Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE) (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 2007 Exhibition: Casa das Artes Galeria (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 2007 Exhibition: Marcelo Neves Galeria de Arte (São Paulo, Brazil)

• 2007 Exhibition: Art Galeria Mara Dolzan (Campo Grande, MS, Brazil)

• 2008 Exhibition :Fundação Oviêdo Teixeira (Aracajú, Brazil)

• 2008 Exhibition: Magenta Galeria de Arte (Palmas, TO, Brazil)

• 2009 Exhibition: Sônia Menna Barreto (Jataí, Goiás, Brazil)

• 2009 Exhibition Sônia Menna Barreto - “Releitura” – Museu de Arte de Blumenau (Blumenau, Santa Catarina,Brazil)

• 2010 Exhibition: Marcelo Neves Galeria de Arte (São Paulo,Brazil)

• 2010 Exhibition: “A Mente de Sônia Menna Barreto” – Caixa Cultural – Galeria Piccola II (Brasília,DF, Brazil)

• 2011 Exhibition: “Do Surreal ao Fantástico” – Igaleria (São Paulo, Brazil) 2013 Exhibition: Sônia Menna Barreto – Galeria C. Perrone (Bebedouro, SP, Brazil)

• 2014 Exhibition "Brazilian Art Invades Moscow" – Art Gallery NA Kashirke" (Moscow, Russia)