Biennale of Sydney

Rosana Paulino

Rosana Paulino, Jatobás, 2019-2020, watercolour and graphite on paper, 65 x 50 cm. Courtesy the artist and Mendez Wood DM, São Paulo / New York / Brussels

Rosana Paulino

Born 1967 in São Paulo, Brazil
Lives and Works in São Paulo

Rosana Paulino explores, as a main theme, the investigation of black people, and in particular, black women in Brazilian society. She has participated in many art exhibitions in Brazil and abroad and has received several awards in Brazil for her art, especially scholarships to undertake both academic studies and artistic creation.


"I see these tree-women as something ancestral, old. They are an archetype of female wisdom.

"For me they are like the old trees that keep the forest alive. They organise life and the growth of new plants. Tree-women are an archetype that we cannot find in western mythology and art history, for they are an archetype that precedes western civilisation.

"I choose to work with the image of this archetype because I feel that it represents black women. In Brazil, when we are thinking about female nature, more often than not, the archetypes that we think of come from Greece, Rome… what about the black females? So, in order to locate myself and other black women in images, I started to work with the idea of trees, in this case, the Jatobá, an immense Brazilian tree that lives for a long time (I am working with one that is almost 500 years old). Alongside the she buffalo, the image of the tree-woman restores many qualities to black women and their femininity."

BÚFALA (She buffalo)

"The Búfala embodies many qualities that we can find in black women. Although, when we talk about the psychology of such women, these qualities are ignored because they don’t fit within western archetypes.

"I think of these qualities  as liberty, healthy sexuality, decisiveness …

"it is important to work with visual archetypes from Afro-Brazilian mythologies and religions instead of western cultures. But attention: these are not religious illustrations. Rather, they are an attempt to mark out new parameters within which to think about what it is to be a woman in a country like Brasil."