Begins her studies 1979 at the Hertfordshire College of Art and Design in St Albans, UK. In Portugal she studied etching and painting at Ar.Co. (Art and Visual Communication Center).
Her first group exhibition was in 1982 at the 1ª Mostra de Artes in Lagos, Portugal and her first solo show was in 1990 at Alda Cortez Gallery, Lisbon. Since then, Sofia has exhibited in various countries individually and collectively. She had a retrospective exhibition covering the last 10 years of her career in 2011 at the Galeria da Cordoaria Nacional the exhibition was accompanied by a monograph published by Babel, with texts by Emília Ferreira, Jorge Silva Melo, Luís Campos e Cunha. In 2012 Areal illustrates the literary magazine published by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Colóquio Letras. In 2013 launches a book together with Harvard Professor, Allan Hobson – “ Creativity” and exhibits for the first time in Mexico. Followed by an exhibition in China (Macau S.A.R.) in the end of 2014 and in Oslo in 2015. In 2016 exhibits again in João Esteves de Oliveira Gallery when of the premier of the movie Sofia Areal: An anti-pain practice by Jorge Silva Melo. In 2017 and 2018 a series of exhibitions, in QuARTel, Abrantes (2017), Lagos Cultural Centre, Lagos (2017) and in MUDAS, Madeira Museum of Contemporary Art, Madeira (2018), focus on Areal’s private collection and its influence on her newer work. In 2019 shows for the first time in Luxembourg in the Portuguese Cultural Centre and participates in the exhibitions “Areal3” and “Metade do Céu”. The first an exhibition with her son and father both artists as well in Mercado do Peixe – Carlos Reis Museum and the latter a group exhibition in the Arpad-Szenes Vieira da Silva Foundation.
Collections (selection): CAM – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Caixanova Foundation, Vigo; FEVAL, Cáceres; Funchal Museum of Contemporary Art, Funchal; Carmona e Costa Foundation, Lisbon; Casa da Cerca Contemporary Art Center, Almada; Millennium BCP Foundation, Lisbon; Novo Banco Collection, Lisbon; PLMJ Collection, Lisbon; Cachola Collection, Elvas: Leal Rios Foundation, Lisbon.