Kiluanji Kia Henda | A Healing Path for Phantom Pain

Kiluanji Kia Henda

04 February - 05 March 2022

Goodman Gallery, London

Goodman Gallery is pleased to present “A Healing Path for Phantom Pain”, Kiluanji Kia Henda’s first solo exhibition in the UK. The exhibition brings together bodies of work continuing the artist’s exploration of collective memory through engagement with landscapes and public structures.

The title of the exhibition couples the painful realities of the past — which present themselves as ghostly recurrences — with the hopeful possibility of recovery. More pointedly, it reflects on the history of Angola through a critique of structures of power that continue colonial legacies. The artist explains; “On the street where I grew up in Luanda, there was a school, a cinema, a police station, and a Catholic church next to an Orthopaedic centre – each of which played a part in the colonial strategy. I decided to focus on the Catholic church and the Orthopaedic centre to think through Western influences in Angola’s history and its devastating conflict.”

The 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in 2017 coincided with Kia Henda’s return to Luanda from New York — a trip during which Diana’s humanitarian efforts were advertised broadly in international media. Part of Diana’s efforts included a visit to Angola, in 1997, where she lobbied against the military industry which benefited from the terror of war, particularly in the production and distribution of anti-personnel landmines. Through photographs, a video installation, as well as new sculptural installations, Kia Henda reflects on the continued effects of active landmines in Angola. A vestige of the brutal civil war, anti-personnel landmines continue to threaten the lives of civilians across the country.

Terra inóspita is a new sculpture that gestures at illusions of safety. The work is modelled on signs used to warn people of the existence of anti-personnel landmines. Made from 117 glass rods, Terra inóspita is a reinterpretation of these warning signs which are often made of wooden sticks painted red and white. The translucency and fragility of glass as a material reflects on the battlefield as a site of deadly experimentation, a lethal laboratory of forts. Loosely translated from Portuguese as “inhospitable land”, the sculpture reflects frustration at the inefficacy of measures to prevent death. Kia Henda recalls small children playing near these signs, wholly unaware of the dangers of existing landmines. Through this work, he pushes against the historicization of the war, returning these concerns to the present moment. Alongside this work is a clay sculpture, A Healing Path for Phantom Pain, based on rehabilitation apparatus used by patients at the Neves Bendinha Orthopaedic Centre. The work reflects on processes of healing and recuperation. The sculpture functions as a model for Kia Henda’s plans to replicate a lifesize rehabilitation apparatus, using sand. For the artist, both materials of sand and clay contain fragility and have a connection to healing pains of the past.

The series of photographs in the exhibition document the Neves Bendinha Orthopaedic Centre and the Santa Ana Catholic church. Devoid of human beings and with no signifiers of time, the images capture an enduring melancholy and restlessness. Both the Orthopaedic centre and the church are a reflection of sites of hope for many Angolans who experienced the effects of war. And yet they reveal themselves as not completely within reach — enclosed, protected…and therefore empty.

Restless Landscape is a series of digital print montages. The images are an assemblage of photographs of the landscape in the central part of Angola where the civil war was particularly damaging. Thinking about the impact of war on both people and on nature, Kia Henda gestures towards trauma’s ability to root itself into the land, thereby necessitating a process of healing and renewal. By creating the photomontages, he is recreating a new landscape filled with overlapping trees — this process of manipulation is Kia Henda’s attempt at rehabilitating the land from a traumatic past.

In Phantom Pain – A letter to Henry A. Kissinger (2020), part of which is filmed at the Neves Bendinha Orthopaedic Centre, Kia Henda confronts former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for his involvement in crimes against humanity and the resultant enduring pain his decisions caused. Kissinger, of course, remains a polarising figure hailed as both war criminal and venerated as a Nobel prize laureate. Through this work, Kia Henda points to the ways in which the retelling of history is illusory, perhaps even deceptive.

Through a meditation on the geopolitical, “A Healing Path for Phantom Pain” studies how trauma travels temporally and spatially while also confronting the painful process of overcoming that trauma.


Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often homes in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of post-colonialism and modernism in Africa. Kia Henda brings a critical edge to his multidisciplinary practice, which incorporates photography, video, and performance. Informed by a background surrounded by photography enthusiasts, Kia Henda’s conceptual-based work has further been sharpened by exposure to music, avant-garde theatre, and collaborations with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. Much of Kia Henda’s work draws on history through the appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, in order to produce complex, yet powerful imagery.

Kia Henda has had solo exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar, São Paulo and Gwanju as well as major travelling exhibitions such as Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists. In 2019, Kia Henda’s work was acquired by Tate Modern in London, and he was selected to participate on the Unlimited sector at Art Basel. In 2020, Kia Kenda exhibited at the MAN Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Italy, marking his first solo exhibition in a major European museum.

Kia Henda currently lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon.

05.02.2022 | by Alícia Gaspar | A Healing Path for Phantom Pain, Art, culture, exhibition, goodman gallery, kiluanji kia henda

Streams of Memories — 28-30 January 2022

A free online screening programme of Black experimental cinema curated by CAS as part of a residency with The Showroom at Metroland Studio


S. Pearl SharpBack Inside Herself, 1984, 4 minutes

Barbara McCulloughWater Ritual #1: An urban rite of purification, 1979, 6 minutes

Kym RagusaDemarcations, 1992, 5 minutes

Omah DieguAfrican Women, U.S.A., 1980, 20 minutes

Martina AttilleDreaming Rivers, 1988, 30 minutes

Please note that Demarcations (1992) and African Woman, U.S.A (1980) contain references to rape so viewer discretion is advised.

Please note that you must book via the eventbrite link below.

About this event

Streams of Memories is a free online screening programme curated by us at the culmination of our curatorial research residency with The Showroom at Metroland Studio, Kilburn, 2021.

The programme presents five experimental short films by S. Pearl Sharp, Barbara McCullough, Kym Ragusa, Omah Diegu, and Martina Attille; exploring the ways in which these experimental filmmakers weave and unravel stories, fears and hopes across the African continent and diaspora, between generations and over time.

Each film touches upon the sociality and sensuality of gathering; heightened by being shown together as part of this programme in company and dialogue with one another. S. Pearl Sharp’s film Back Inside Herself (1984) is a visual poem on self-invention and shows a Black woman finding her own sense of self while rejecting white hegemonic societal expectations of who she should be and how she should behave. Barbara McCullough extends the poetics of cinema in Water Ritual #1: An urban rite of purification (1979) to enact the spiritual and psychological journey of a Black woman as she (re)connects with the African continent and the Caribbean on a cosmological level. A different sense of wandering and wondering is conveyed in Kym Ragusa’s Demarcations (1992) through mediations on how the trauma of rape leaves its inflictions on the body yet does not determine self-identity. African Women, U.S.A. (1980) by Omah Diegu further explores misogynoir and transnational complexities by addressing family, labour and gender power relations. Dreaming Rivers (1988) by Martina Attille reflects and recalls the ghosts of love, loss and kinship.

Together these short films pull, release and upsurge the histories, experiences and lives of Black women. Rather than merely presenting how they are viewed, particularly by the white gaze, these films - or memories - intervene in dominant Western cinematic aesthetics and redirect vision towards how Black women themselves view the structures, relations and intimacies of their lives. These five filmmakers look at the camera not for recognition, but to confront and impose their looking onto and against the camera.

It is this ambivalence to visibility and wildness to capture that led us to accompany the screening programme with the essay Why Black Cinema? (1987) by the late poet, writer, and social activist Toni Cade Bambara. The text and film programme will be discussed in an accompanying reading group at The Showroom. This follows our s ongoing work to both explore and host discussion framed by the intersectional relations between contemporary art practice and (Black) literary theory.

The programme is free to attend, although booking via Eventbrite will be essential. after which you will receive a link to watch the films online over full the screening programme weekend, Friday 28–Sunday 30 January 2022.

With thanks to each of the filmmakers and to distributors Cinenova, Third Worlds Newsreel, UCLA Film Archive and LUX.

About CAS

CAS is an interdisciplinary curatorial platform founded in 2013 that foregrounds archival research to facilitate institutional as well as public awareness and engagement with past and present artistic productions from the African continent and diaspora. Core to CAS’s work is creating access to these knowledge productions and artistic curricula, including hosting trans-geographical dialogues that centre critical pedagogies and decolonial paradigms to bring into focus the historiography, theory, and practices of Black cultural workers for exhibition projects and public programming.

About Awa Konaté

Awa Konaté is a London and Copenhagen based curator, researcher, and founder of CAS. Her curatorial practice foregrounds archives, decolonial thought, and interdisciplinary frameworks of artistic productions from the African continent and diaspora with a focus on lens-based practices. Konaté has worked with The Showroom and The Danish Film Institute to mention a few. Her writings have been published in Third Text, Phaidon, Paletten Art Journal, and more.

About The Showroom

The Showroom is a contemporary art space focused on collaborative and process-driven approaches to cultural production; be that art work, exhibitions, events, discussions, publications, knowledge and relationships, within its locality
 and beyond.

About Metroland Studio

A new site for research, experimentation and production, the new Metroland Studio residencies carry forward the core aims of Metroland Cultures to make new places for artists and art in Brent; and to build a legacy for the borough and its surrounding spaces, institutions and organisations.

28.01.2022 | by Alícia Gaspar | black cinema, black movies, cinema, culture, films, online events, online screening

Refugee Arts Networks: Extending the Frame

This panel discussion & exchange brings together refugee artists’ advocacy networks to discuss new models for resilient creative networks.

About this event

What are the strategies and challenges faced by refugee artists today? How can networks foster systemic change? How can we develop new frameworks driven by artistic vision created by refugee artists?

This panel discussion & exchange will bring together refugee artists’ advocacy networks to discuss new models for resilient creative networks, featuring grassroots organisations from the UK, France, Germany and Portugal.

This is an event for artists, scholars, cultural workers and policymakers, aiming to increase visibility and opportunities for refugee artists and groups, to share experiences and practices across geographic and cultural settings. The hybrid event will facilitate an open conversation on the role of networks in advocating change on various artistic and institutional levels, aiming to build alliances across research and the creative sector within and outside the UK.

This event is FREE to attend, and we welcome everyone who is interested in refugeedom and performing arts! Tickets are available to attend either in-person or online. Space for social distancing will be created for the live event. For those who attend in person, the event will end with a reception and networking opportunity lasting until 18:00. For those who choose to join us online, the link and details of how to join will be sent to you on the morning of the event(02/11/2021)

Event organisers:

Drama Department, University of Manchester

Community Arts North West (CAN)

Migrant Dramaturgies Network 

New Tides Platform

Participating organisations:

Migrants in Theatre, UK


L’Atelier des Artistes en Exil [Agency of Artists in Exile], France

PostHeimat Network, Germany

UNA- União Negras das Artes [Union of Black Artists], Portugal

26.10.2021 | by Alícia Gaspar | Art, culture, france, Germany, Portugal, refugee arts networks, refugees, UK, união negra das artes

Research Film Festival 2011-2012 - Call for Applications

The Canadian-based Research Network “Slavery, Memory, Citizenship”, the European network of EURESCL: Slave Trade, Slavery, Abolition and their Legacies in European Histories and Identities (7th PCRD), and the CIRESC “Centre International de Recherches sur les Esclavages, Acteurs, Systèmes, Representations” are pleased to announce their fourth annual international research film festival and welcomes submissions that address the realities of slavery in its past and contemporary forms.

The theme for Festival 2011-2012 is once again “Culture, Diaspora, and Citizenship”.


The fourth edition of the festival will begin in May 2011 and will travel to locations that include:

- Paris (May 2011)
- Mexique, Mexico City
- Veracruz, Mérida, Chetumal
- Dakar
- Abidjan, Cotonou, Lomé, Ngaoundéré
- Port au Prince
- Havanna, Santiago de Cuba
- Ouagadougou
- Rio de Janeiro (November 2011)
- Quebec/Toronto (February 2012)

The Toronto version of the festival will be hosted by the Harriet Tubman Institute.



17.03.2011 | by nadinesiegert | culture, diáspora, film festival