For centuries enslaved Africans were taken to Europe and America to serve as workforce. These individuals were forced into submission and considered sub-human. They were brutalized and treated worse than animals by other individuals, and their institutions, which thought of themselves as civilized and modern. These enslaved men and women suffered and despaired, and dreamt of a life before, and of a land more familiar and kind. So, out of the insanity of misery and helplessness, they would eat the soil in the hope of being taken back to that time and land of before.
For other mediums such as sound art and video art to gain traction in Afrika, I think they need to be taken out of the gallery or museum environment and put into the mobile environment where people are. This entails modifying the model of collecting, where alternative commercial models better suited to mobile consumption of content come to the fore. The onus is on these new art platforms in Afrika to look deep within their cultures and societies and innovate the mediums themselves to make art more relevant for their communities.
BRASIL is a photobook project that is the result of eight years of photographing culture, landscape, architecture and the visual magic I found in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Salvador de Bahia. Made on analog film, the photographs are personal portraits that illuminate a fluid, syncopated, and complex contemporary Brazil, seen through the lens of my Rolleiflex camera.
The Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia started on February 7 with the Opening Ceremony, where 88 athletes bearing the flags of their respective nations led their national delegations into the Olympic Stadium. When a lonely man representing Zimbabwe entered on position 26, one could have asked two questions: Why is a Zimbabwean the 26th, if there is an alphabetical order? And, probably more interesting, what is a man from the southern Africa doing at Olympic Winter Games?
Researching the relations between ongoing artistic, social and political forms of life, Generative Indirections intends to explore the potentialities of performance studies in the critical space between the Social Sciences, Humanities and Art, and give voice to counter hegemonic epistemologies, blurring theory and practice. In-direction thus becomes a magnetic field, moving between theory and practice, challenging disciplinary boundaries in order to question how Performance Studies can be received in Portugal.
Two years before the Exhibition of the Portuguese World (“Exposição de Mundo Português”), a very large Exhibition-Fair was held in Luanda, that did not go down in colonial history. Its was meant to display the economic development of Angola in an "expressive and comprehensive documentary", rather than exalt the regime's historicist programme and imperial mystique - the norm with colonial exhibitions, such as the Historical Exhibition of the Occupation (“Exposição Histórica da Ocupação”) held in 1937, in the Eduardo VII Park in Lisbon.
Vela 691 is the code name of the US satellite that detected the nuclear blast performed by South Africa on the 22nd of September in 1979. The test was conducted in the South Atlantic off the cost of Antarctica. It's also the name of a new piece Victor Gama composed by invitation from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The piece was premiered during the concert series MusicNOW at Harris Theatre in Chicago on the 5th of March 2012 and was a result of an invitation from composers-in-residence Mason Bates and Anna Clyne.
tectonik:TOMBWA is a project initiated by Victor Gama in the desert of Namibe, Angola, in 2006 with the aim of reconstructing and interpret professor Augusto Zita's research thesis “An anthropology of Utopia: formation of Utopian identities”. The project is based on his fragmented notes, and is intended to resurface his thoughts, concepts and refletions. For that aim Gama started an archive of some of the main items pointed out by prof. Augusto in his notes such as recordings of sounds collected with a specific device in the Namibe desert, photografs and videos of several features along the road from Namibe to Tombwa, as well as a collection of objects found laying on the ground, different types of sands, dryed leaves of plants and many other items.
Travel in Monica de Miranda’s imagery becomes a metaphor for what Walter Mignolo calls ‘the colonial wound’: as a way to explore her multiple movements and those of her family through places linked by a common colonial matrix she builds her own emotional map in a variety of mediums. It could be argued that the stations chosen for her transit suggest a reflection on decolonization that in the Zapatistas’ terms would carry us towards a world that would fit many worlds: a proposal for a pluriversal -as in opposition to uni-versal - reading of reality.
he ROOTS project approaches the slavery theme through/from a contemporary vision inspired by an archeological discovery in 2008 in the “green circle” in Lagos at the location which was known as the “Vale da Gafaria” (Valley of the Leper Hospital). In the area rescue archeological excavations that preceded the construction of one of the city’s underground car parks enabled the methodological investigation of the whole area affected by the enterprise - one of the ex-libris of urban regeneration that the municipal administration was able to carry out in the decade of the XXI Century.
We land in Dakar at 2.30 in the morning. Looking from the plane at the Cap Vert peninsula, the map I had been studying for months now gains life. I know exactly where our hotel is. I come out of the plane looking for the first elemet that will prove I am in Africa. Nothing special, apart from the airport name: Léopold Sedar Senghor, Senegal´s first president, the president-poet.
Beyond Boetjan and the South African connection, occupation of one form or another has always been part of the collective psyche of Mozambique. Attempts to explore this, however, are far more recent. A new mixed media exhibition, Ocupações Temporárias (temporary occupations), sees five young Mozambican artists attempt to do just that.
For four days last month, tens of thousands of fans from around the world descended on Essaouira, Morocco, for an African musical extravaganza: the annual festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde, now in its 14th edition. The protagonist of this musical feast was as usual Gnawa music: when to Gnawa masters like Mustapha Baqbou, Mohammed Guinea, and Hassan Boussou were not on the main public stages, they were performing lilas (night of healing) that began at midnight at different riads (traditional style Moorish house with a courtyard); and that is where true European aficionados went to trance and to learn the specifics of daqa marrakchiya (the percussive clap associated with the city of Marrakesh).
If any African artist working today can be described as internationally acclaimed, instantly recognizable, with a style marked by a unique personality, it is the South African William Kentridge. A ubiquitous presence in art festivals and exhibitions and in the permanent collections of the great museums, a recipient of numerous prizes, encomia, and honorary doctorates, Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1955, when popular uprisings and increasingly harsh repression drew clear lines between partisans and opponents of the racist authoritarian regime.
Extrapolating their critique to the demands placed upon Africa by the art market and the culture industry, these artists - Romuald Hazoumé, Dominique Zinkpé e Gérard Quenum - show themselves immune to, if not ignorant of, the self-absorption prevalent in contemporary art. They do not cease to question the processes according to which of African artists in general, and of those from Benin in specific, at once infiltrate and are assimilated by the systems of art and culture.