Urban Africa: Pan-African View

Urban Africa: Pan-African View David Adjaye, one of the leading architects from his generation, living between London and New York, returned to Lisbon. 'Urban Africa - A Photographic Journey' was the reason why. This exhibition, recently launched at the Black Pavilion of Lisbon City Hall Museum, is a photographic tour but also a retrospective of memories from an architect who never left Africa. 
Born in 1966, in Tanzania, from a family of diplomats, he was soon forced to understand the inevitability of travelling, the need to readapt and redefine oneself. Nevertheless, the nomad lifestyle didn’t break his strong relation with the African continent. His work confirms his deep relationship with its landscapes and its places. In Urban Africa (and also in this conversation) David shares his panoramic view of this vast territory and his – spoken – will to live there again.

Face to face

01.06.2011 | by Rita Palma

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli

Ciudad Sur by Pablo Brugnoli Thoughts around the interview and conference CIUDAD SUR presented by Pablo Brugnoli, last June 26th on “Próximo Futuro”, Gulbenkian Programme for Contemporary Culture. According to Pablo Brugnoli, CIUDAD SUR reviews ideas, practices and projects by collectives of architects and artists, whose recent works reinterpret cities from the southern cone of America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay). The link between them is their focus on the value of communitarian reconstruction, regarding both the procedures and the socio-cultural dynamics.


23.05.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond

Music, City, Ethnicity: Exploring Selected Music Scenes in Lisbon and Beyond This paper explores Lisbon’s contemporary music scenes within the perspective of music and cultural circulation. It discusses the various ways in which music and cities interact, in a context of increased inter-connectedness between the local and the global. It suggests that music creation and performance (and more broadly, cultural innovation), cannot be reduced to neither grassroots nor institutional initiatives. On the premises of the existence of a so-called “global culture”, cities tend to reinvent themselves by promoting various (and eventually competing) self-definitions. In the case of Lisbon, this tendency is accompanied by a seemingly increased desire to connect (or re-connect) with the Lusophone world, eventually informing Lisbon’s self-images as an inclusive and multicultural city. In this process, new forms of ethnicity may gain visibility in the marketing of Luso-World music (or World music as practiced in the Portuguese-speaking countries). At the horizon of imagined cities as “transcultural megacities”, music tends to gain agency in the promotion of senses of place and belonging in, and to the city.


18.05.2011 | by Jorge de La Barre

Mere Impressions: South African Prints from the Permanent Collection, MOMA NY

Mere Impressions: South African Prints from the Permanent Collection, MOMA NY The notion of art as a vehicle for criticism and resistance was taken up in a programmatic manner by the South African group Resistance Art at the end of the nineteen-seventies to the end of confronting institutionalized racism in the then-totalitarian nation. A direct result of the 1976 Soweto uprising and the 1977 murder of the Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, it represented a “galvanized anti-apartheid activism” in the artistic and cultural spheres. The idea of “culture as a weapon of political struggle,” affirmed by a multiethnic convocation of artists in Botswana in 1982, appears to be the overarching theme of the MOMA’s curators in the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, with an eye, perhaps, to those presently fomenting global crises and the sensibilities they must produce in an audience once again attuned to injustice and inequality (Image 1).

I'll visit

17.05.2011 | by Beatriz Leal Riesco

QUEEN NJINGA’S MILONGAS The ‘dialogue’ between Portuguese and Africans in the Congo and the Angola wars (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries)

QUEEN NJINGA’S MILONGAS  The ‘dialogue’ between Portuguese and Africans in the Congo and the Angola wars (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) When the Africans discovered that the mato inspired such horror in the Portuguese, they made it their habitual refuge, patiently negotiating from there with the intruders. Queen Njinga, in Angola, played this game to perfection, thus provoking the increasing anger of the Portuguese. Referring to the subterfuges the Portuguese governor opposed to the liberation of her sister, prisoner in Luanda, she wrote on 13 December 1655: “For these and other betrayals I took shelter in the matos, far from my territories” (Cadornega 1972, II: 501). By withdrawing to the forest, the queen was not only obeying a military imperative, but also putting pressure on the Portuguese.

To read

17.05.2011 | by Martín Lienhard

The Role of Music in African Cinema

The Role of Music in African Cinema Even today, an analysis of the complex role of music in film is often forgotten by critics, many of whom remain prostrate before the dictatorship of the image. Yet as a manifestation of culture, music has a privileged position with respect to the study of representations of identity and ideology; moreover, in its subversive and dialogic aspects, it can reveal significant directorial decisions related to dynamics of power and exclusion.


16.05.2011 | by Beatriz Leal Riesco

The arts have arrived in some parts of Africa, but it took such a long time

The arts have arrived in some parts of Africa, but it took such a long time Since the 1960s, there has been great excitement in many African countries with the creation of art schools. Together with the first exhibitions of self-taught artists, there have also been the first festivals of black art, and even the work of African photographers has begun to establish a reputation for itself in Africa, in European countries and in some forums in the USA. The history of these artistic movements is already being written, describing their schools, their leading figures and their international impact.

To read

11.05.2011 | by António Pinto Ribeiro

20 Navios”, by Ruy Guerra. The Chronicle and its Melancholy.

20 Navios”, by Ruy Guerra. The Chronicle and its Melancholy. The writer of '20 Navios' speaks to us of the chronicle and its melancholy, opening with “This (rear?) Window”, where he probes his identitary affiliations - the aforementioned triangle-: “From this window before me, when night falls, and Lisbon turns to dust beneath the anonymous city lights, I may imagine myself in Maputo, Havana, or Rio, or whatever other of my stomping grounds, but I know now that I can never fool myself, because I am inevitably alone, with my afro-latin schizophrenia.


07.05.2011 | by Luís Carlos Patraquim

The places of youth in urban Cape Verde

The places of youth in urban Cape Verde Body, consumption, sexuality, expression, festivity, communality and informality will be analyzed as the central places of the new challenges, negotiations and innovations of citizenship of contemporary young people in Cape Verde.

To read

01.05.2011 | by Filipe Martins

"Third Half": 90% Design By The Other

"Third Half": 90% Design By The Other The streets of Brazil are full of startling design solutions by ordinary people driven by pure human need. Adélia Borges writes about a new exhibition space that celebrates a design culture of diversity.

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28.04.2011 | by Adélia Borges

Tahir Square (rethinking public space)

Tahir  Square (rethinking public space) The virtual space of communication through social networks took part in the square’s new configuration, as in some way participated the space created by the window that we all opened. Even more determinant was the physical and real presence of the demonstrators and their capacity for resistance. The occupation of the square leads us to rethink public space, but the question that is imposed is what will then have to change so that Tahir Square can maintain the new configuration it conquered, a place of intervention, communication and meeting, and that it doesn’t go back to its old condition of museum space for tourists and road circulation?


28.04.2011 | by Cristina Salvador

The Aesthetics of the Favela

The Aesthetics of the Favela The most significant distinction in the way favela builders and architects treat space relates to temporality, since sheltering and inhabiting imply a completely different space-temporal process. It’s as if architects spatialized time, and favela builders temporalize space. This opposition becomes clear when we compare the way architects conceive space – always starting from a project, with spatial and formal projections for a near future – and the way favelas are built – where there is never a pre-established project, and the formal outline of the future construction begins to appear only when the construction process is well underway, and even then, it is never fixed or pre-defined as is the case of a traditional project.


27.04.2011 | by Paola Bernstein Jacques

How The Zebra Got Its Stripes

How The Zebra Got Its Stripes Why am I not black. Or rather, how did I end up a Mozambican? These questions about identity are normal. They come up more often when I’m not in Mozambique due to (I assume) lack of historical knowledge. But what does a Mozambican look like? Mozambique, as a nation, didn’t exist until 1975. It was then it was born, a carrier of other nations within its borders, of ethnicities as varied as Shangana, Makonde, descendants from Swahili and Arabs from the North, descendants from Goan, Pakistani, Portuguese, Ronga and so on. With that new country came a new nationality — Mozambican.

Face to face

27.04.2011 | by Rui Tenreiro

"Third Half": New Horizons – African contemporary art and postcolonial politics

"Third Half": New Horizons – African contemporary art and postcolonial politics ost-independence Africa is a space of ambivalence, where the aspirations of her people are, ever so often, opposed by her own leaders and by influences from the outside. Her wealth is largely crippled by the West’s use of financial control to make the continents resources available to its own ends. And in recent years, China’s rapidly intensifying economic influence in Africa has become yet another reminder of a new global actor that feeds on globalization and the resultant economic and political expansion, and who has not shied away from reaching out its tentacles to areas troubled by conflict and weak governance. In this conflicting terrain, we must carry with us the words of Walter Benjamin: “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in which we live is not an exception but a rule.”

To read

25.04.2011 | by Stina Edblom


Kalashni-Coke In the country with a Kalashnikov in its flag we were walking a long way to meet a musician and record some of his tunes for the soundtrack to a documentary. Tobias Dzandiwandira is a practically unknown talent, for he lives with his large family an hour and a half away from the nearest road in Mozambique’s centre-west, close to the border with Zimbabwe.

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21.04.2011 | by Nuno Milagre

Fragments of Reality. Interview with Mário Macilau

Fragments of Reality. Interview with Mário Macilau Mário Macilau is a photographer (of fragments) of reality. Macilau is a teller of stories and as he narrates he meditates through his images on the social, political and economic environment in his country and in the world, which he explores in its unfeigned naked and raw form. As he states himself, he does not stage or create the photographic moment. His images are instantaneous. He does not seek them, he finds them. Camera in hand, he approaches the countless anonymous people who appear in his work – it is the movement of contemporary man and his relationship with space that interest him.

Face to face

11.04.2011 | by Sílvia Vieira

Kiluanji Kia Henda to me

Kiluanji Kia Henda to me Interview carried out by online chat, at various times and on various days, punctuated by continual breaks in the Internet connection that maps out the transatlantic and ex-colonial triangulation between Luanda, Angola – Kiluanji Kia Henda’s home, a city that I have never visited; São Paulo, Brazil – my temporary home and the place where I first met Kiluanji, a place that is close to the origin of the series presented here; Lisbon, Portugal – my permanent home, source of the schedule drawn up by my computer and Kiluanji’s ex-temporary home.

Face to face

08.04.2011 | by Lígia Afonso

Cinema in francophone sub-Saharan Africa: from “Monstration” to contemporary storytelling

Cinema in francophone sub-Saharan Africa: from “Monstration”  to contemporary storytelling Documentary cinema in Africa more or less follows the same trajectory as African Literature. The methodologies and forms of expression are certainly different but the discourse on Africa remains the same, evolving with the continent’s history. In the 1920s, colonial reportage and ethnographic films were already a success. Africa and Africans were filmed subjects.


08.04.2011 | by Rufin Mbou Mikima

The Elephant and Ulysses S. Grant

The Elephant and Ulysses S. Grant We decided to stick around for a beer at the end of a shooting day for the movie “The Hero” directed by Zezé Gamboa. We were on the Island of Luanda, where we had filmed from two in the afternoon to one in the morning. We stopped the car next to a stand, leaving the door open to keep listening to the pirated cassette playing on the car radio. In the group, the Angolans drink imported beer, Super Bock; the foreigners drink national beer, Cuca, each one savouring the exotic freshness of its own point of view while we talk in the shadow of a tranquil weekday dawn.

I'll visit

03.04.2011 | by Nuno Milagre

Preview: poems from the book “Fragments d’un Crépuscule Blessé”

Preview: poems from the book “Fragments d’un Crépuscule Blessé” The air erodes Its shadow quivers My land is lost sand My skin a black target A rough weave of laments How could anyone believe that a mother is anything but love?


16.03.2011 | by Céléstin Monga