Rubiane Maia & Tom Nobrega
‘My Battery is Low and It’s Getting Late’

A Blue Skies Conversation

As the Sars-Covid 19 pandemic escalated, Rubiane Maia was in Folkestone, England, and Tom Nobrega in Tarapoto, in the Peruvian Amazon. They were both surprised by the sudden need to cancel their planned travels to Brazil, their homeland. Though they were used to being foreigners, since Rubiane is currently based in the UK, and Tom has been living a nomadic life for more than eight years, the closed borders brought insolite situations and an unfamiliar feeling of exile. As the news coming from Brazil reaches them over distance like stones breaking their computer screens, blurring the lines between what is personal and what is collective, the pair of friends share their perplexity and try to find some resonance amidst the overwhelming amount of information floating through the virtual space.

Rubiane Maia and Tom Nobrega met in 2010, and throughout ten years of friendship and collaboration they have often witnessed deep changes in each other’s ways of living, thinking and creating, which often came to be through complex processes of rupture, relocation and reinvention. Though they would rarely be able to be present at the same place and the same time, they have always found ways to communicate over distance.

Rubiane Maia is a Brazilian visual artist based between Folkestone, UK and Vitória, Brazil. She completed a degree in Visual Arts and a Master degree in Institutional Psychology at Federal University of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Her artwork is a hybrid practice across performance, video, installation and text, occasionally flirting with drawing and collage. She is attracted by states of synergy, encompassing the invisible relationships of affect and flux, and investigates the body in order to amplify the possibilities of perception beyond the habitual. By doing so, she is constantly re-elaborating her personal notion of existential territories (spatial, temporal, cognitive, social and political). More recently, she has been researching the concept of memory and its relationship with language and channeling, often making use of personal narratives as a device for action and resilience. Since 2018 she has been working on the creation of a ‘Book-Performance’, a series of actions in response to specific autobiographical texts particularly influenced by experiences of racism and misogyny.

Tom Nobrega speaks with an accent even when he speaks his own tongue. He uses a pair of hearing aids, wears contact lenses, has seven titanium nails in his ankle, three artificial teeth and takes hormone injections every ten weeks. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he doesn’t have a fixed home, doesn’t use cell phones and is never exactly sure where in the world he is going to be in the next few months. He does a lot of not so useful things such as making strange utterances in languages that do not exist, writing poems, making repetitive gestures and losing objects along his path.

The Blue Skies Conversation Series is presented by International Curators Forum and made possible with support from Art Fund.