Buffalo and Lady of Plants
In this warm and soft book, covered by a blood red fabric, artist Rosana Paulino brings together for the first time the series of drawings that give their title to the publication: Buffalo and Lady of Plants. Both represent female archetypes related to the black psyche, and they go against the dominant European and colonial collective consciousness. The series are first cousins. They talk to each other, complement each other, support and learn from each other. Their encounter also results from the affinity developed between artist and publisher. Together, they translated into this book-object part of the research, poetics, and materiality of Rosana's work.
On the cover, we touch the same material applied in many of the artist’s pieces. The fabric, which is frequently used as a medium for printing photographs that Rosana then manipulates with thread and needle, here embraces and protects the drawings. As we open the book, the texture changes and we see the potential of drawing to subvert hegemonic discourses and claim expropriated subjectivities as in a ritual of healing and empowerment. Rosana dives into the construction of the image of black women in Brazil and brings to the surface the sensorial memory of a past-present of pain, but also of resistance. First, she works in watercolor stains and then outlines the forms in pencil. Feminine forms that are emancipated and sensual.
The Buffalo is strong, vain, and powerful. She is a mother who feels no guilt and is not punished for having pleasure and being independent. When necessary, she goes to war and fights as an equal with men. This deity reminds the many black women who have been battling from an early age and for centuries. Lady of Plants, on the other hand, is the owner of life – she creates and heals. From her orifices sprout fine roots. Some of them are Jatobas, in reference to the ancient Brazilian tree, witness of our history. Wise women, they are like the matriarchs who kept the black culture standing despite the attempts to erase it. Rosana is herself a Jatoba. A source of affection and knowledge.
We all identify with or would love to be like the Buffalo and Lady of Plants, and the book allows us to slowly discover (ourselves in) these women. Turning the pages, we find between them one of the notebooks that the artist fills in on her daily walks through the parks around her home. Rosana needs to feel on her skin the strength of the Atlantic Forest, the humid air and the sound of nature. These drawings, rescued in one of the book's creative process meetings, are the seed of the two feminine archetypes presented in this edition. They reflect the artist's attempt to merge with the natural world and remind us of our proximity to it: seeds and fruits are like our sexual organs, roots and branches are like arms, legs, or our respiratory system. We are part of and side by side with nature, never above it.