“Jatobás: … They are archetypes of female wisdom. For me they are like the old trees that maintain the forest and keep it alive. They organise the life and the plants that emerge. They are an archetype that we cannot find in Western civilisation …

Búfalas (she buffalos): The Búfala means black female qualities that don’t fit within Western archetypes. I think of them as liberty, healthy sexuality and decisiveness. They are an attempt to use new parameters to think about what it is to be a female in a country like Brazil.”

Rosana Paulino’s drawings of inspirational anthropomorphic figures continue the artist’s empowerment of Afro-Brazilian mythological archetypes. Situated within the familiar galleries of medieval and Renaissance painting and ceramics, Paulino’s drawings add a bright intimacy and legacy to the often dark-coloured paintings of Christian hierarchy. In this way, Paulino simultaneously inserts and reactivates another world culture through new multifaceted beings that celebrate the representation of black women. These drawings form part of Paulino’s broader practice of re-making and exploring layers of historical representation and the legacy of slavery as well as the entanglement of aesthetic, social and psychological worlds.


  • Title: Búfalas; and Jatobás Installation Image
  • Creator: Rosana Paulino
  • Date Created: 2019/2020
  • Location Created: Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Physical Dimensions: 65 x 50 cm (each)
  • Provenance: Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Open Society Foundations and NIRIN 500 patrons. Courtesy the artist and Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo / New York / Brussels.
  • Type: drawing
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: watercolour, graphite and charcoal on paper
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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