Joana Lira

The liveliness of Brazilian folk culture is the inspiration for artist and designer Joana Lira’s multifaceted production. With drawing as a primary base, her iconographic research leads to legion objects, utensils, prints, illustrations, sculptures and urban scenography projects. Irrespective of form or scale, her work conveys a desire to being about life-changing experiences, evoking a cultural identity associated with sense of affection and belonging. “The power of the arts to transform others is what moves me,” she says.

Her language, forged in the shared space of design and the visual arts stems from intense experience with arts and the cultural expression enabled by her architect parents and the environment of Recife, where she was born and raised. Joana earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 1997 and worked from 2001 to 2011 in the creation of the scenography for the city’s Carnival, a formative experience that lent scale and consistency to her work and is represented in the book Outros Carnavais (2008).

She has since 1999 been based in São Paulo, researching different supports, from pottery to digital media, in arts projects that drink from the wellsprings of Pernambuco arts and culture history and of her everyday experiences. In addition, by invitation from major companies, she develops visual identities, lines of merchandise and authorial prints, to name just a few categories, in constant pursuit of engaging design capable of adding cultural, historic and sentimental value to form and utility.

Her work has been on display in individual shows, like Quando a vida é uma euforia, curated by Mamé Shimabukuro (Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, 2018), Quando tudo explode, curated by Diego Matos (Sesc Santo André, 2017) and Bichos Aloprados (Recife, 1997). It has also been featured in leading collective exhibitions such as Design Brasileiro Hoje: Fronteiras (MAM-SP, 2010) and Design para Todos (5th Brazilian Design Biennial, Florianópolis, 2015), as well as Brazilian and Latin-American design exhibitions in Germany, China, Belgium and Spain. She won the Associação Brasileira de Embalagem’s ABRE Award at the 11th Brazilian Graphic Design Biennial (2015) and Pearl Award given by The Content Council, a US custom-content oriented entity (2009).

Joana lives and works in São Paulo.