#17 Roberta Lima



Roberta Lima was born in 1974 in Manaus, Brazil.
After graduating with a degree in architecture in 2001, Lima moved to Austria where in 2007 she earned a Master's degree in Fine Arts and in 2013 her PhD in Philosophy. Thereafter she worked as lecturer and University Assistant for the Contextual Painting Class at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Roberta Lima uses different media such as photographs, videos, sculptures, and paintings in her installations. She explores body and space, incorporating various elements of popular media and historical references to produce art and initiate discussions about the role of artist and viewer. In her recent works, Lima looks for intersections between nature and technology, mythology and feminism, to produce artworks with sustainable and alternative material sources.
She has participated in local and international events, including at the Cairo Bienalle (2008), dounaufestival (2008 and 2016), Wiener Festwochen (2016), Kyoto Experiment (2018), The London Coronet (2019 and 2020). Her works are in The Verbund Art Collection, Austrian Federal Photography Collection, MUSA Museum Artothek and Ursula Blickle Video Archive. In 2007 she was awarded the "Akademiefreundepreis" and "H13 Prize for Performance". In 2013 she received the Award of Excellence for her PhD dissertation. In 2018 she was awarded Austrian Citizenship based on the merit of her accomplishments and contributions to the nation.

Roberta Lima currently lives in Helsinki and Vienna.


Instagram: roberta_lima_art


Framed between two tall birch trees, blackened cable tendrils suspend a bundle of red pampas pulsing into the exploded White Paper Museum that is embedded in velvety moss in the Finnish forest.

My atelier, the space of production becomes the outdoors. The painting process I appreciate so much already begins in the city where I collect material, then take a long drive to the Finnish forest near a lake. I forage further…I climb trees…It rains! While not necessarily precarious, the process and the environment—like me—are real and raw.

Resilience, fathoming and challenging boundaries, rebounding: these define Roberta Lima’s art and herstory, originating with her roots in Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon. She turns increasingly to nature and ancestry exploring other sources of inspiration.

Referring to indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cross-culture beliefs and practices I am familiar with, I use black as the color that represents the sky, without light. Red stands for life, blood, mother nature. Transcending geographic barriers, with the integration of Finnish birch I also allude to the element of fire. This significant natural resource is, among other things, burnt and used for shelter, for warmth and in sauna and other rituals.

Following an interest in eco-sensitive activism, Roberta Lima turns to alternative materials, still with associations to the body that has been critical for her work up until the present. The cables may resemble vessels; the pampas grass, human hair. In Oferenda—her offering—Lima literally binds nature with technology. The tall trees are linked up with cables and force a vertical view.

I am talking about things that are far greater than us—themes that transcend space or our own physical body! It is about mysticism, moreover diverse forms of communication. And my ongoing practice of inviting (queer BIPOC) community interaction and reciprocity. After all, the cables I use in the environment of the wood wide web doubly signify communication.

Roberta Lima charges the white paper box with cultural and mythological practices and in her own words “rescues and implants uncanonized knowledge”.

The box bears witness to the action of painting. The performative process is visible. And in analogy to photography, the evidence of the painting, the red droplets, are visible, like a photogram on the white surface. Yet the painting breaks out of the frame, expanding into the environment, which in this case is the Finnish woods.

Melissa Lumbroso and Roberta Lima