Faculty & Staff Directory
Álvaro Luís Lima
Assistant Professor
School of Art + Art History/African Art
On leave 2022-2024

Álvaro Luís Lima is an Assistant Professor of Art History and affiliate faculty in the Center for African Studies and the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. He received his Ph.D. in Art History & Archaeology at Columbia University with advanced certificates in Psychoanalytic Studies and Comparative Literature & Society. His research has been supported by Mellon, Getty, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Smithsonian.

Lima specializes in modern and contemporary art from Africa, working at the intersection of art history and cultural studies. His first book project, Farewell to the Future: Art in Mozambique at the End of Socialism, focuses on art during Mozambique’s transition from Marxist-Leninism to a multi-party democracy. The book analyzes this unique history as a case study of the aesthetic impact of the end of the Cold War in the Global South. This project builds on Lima’s doctoral work, for which he spent over a year conducting interviews and archival research in Mozambique. 

Research is also underway on a second book project, tentatively titled Decolonial Beasts: Art and Animal after Apartheid. Other forthcoming projects include guest-editing a special issue of Critical Interventions on socialism in contemporary African art. A member of the editorial consortium of African Arts, Lima has recently edited a special issue on African socialisms for the journal (Fall 2021). 


Editorial Work

  • Critical Interventions 15, no. 1, special issue “Socialism in Contemporary African Art,” edited by Álvaro Luís Lima (2021). (forthcoming)
  • African Arts 54, no. 3, special issue “African Socialisms,” edited by Álvaro Luís Lima (2021).
  • African Arts 53, no. 3, edited by Susan Cooksey, MacKenzie Moon Ryan, Robin Poynor, Fiona McLaughlin and Álvaro Luís Lima (2020).

Peer-Reviewed Essays

  • “A House on Fire: The Diaspora of Irineu Destourelles” In Atlantica: Contemporary Art in Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and their Diaspora, edited by César Schofield, 74-86. Lisbon: Hangar Books, 2021.

  • “The Place of Socialism in African Art.” African Arts 54, no. 3, special issue “African Socialisms” edited by Álvaro Luís Lima (2021): 10-13.
  • “In Search of Nothing: Filipe Branquinho’s Photography and the Void of Modernity.” In Atlantica: Contemporary Art of Mozambique and Its Diasporas, edited by Ângela Ferreira, 35-44. Lisbon: Hangar Books, 2020.
  • “A Read-Through of Mozambique’s Liberation Script.” In Atlantica: Contemporary Art of Mozambique and Its Diasporas, edited by Ângela Ferreira, 222-233. Lisbon: Hangar Books, 2020.
  • “Queer Futures.” In the Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline, edited by James Elkins, 224-226. New York: Routledge, 2013.
  • “Screw the Nation! Queer Nationalism and Representations of Power in Contemporary South African Art.” African Arts 45, no. 4 (2012): 46-57.

Exhibition Catalog

  • After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Art, New York: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 2019.


  • After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Art. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, 2019.
  • Low Res: Spatial Politics in the Cloud. Co-curated with Nicole Siegenthaler. NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, 2017.


  • Introduction to African Art
  • Modern African Art
  • Contemporary African Art
  • African Socialisms: Theory as Weapon 
  • Why Look at Animals?
  • Time & African Art (graduate seminar) 
  • Antihumanism in Africa and Its Diaspora (graduate seminar)
Contact Information
Room #121
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