The Khatàrsis Project in Cape Verde


A good example is The Khatàrsis Project, a multidisciplinary art installation that was displayed at the Casa da Imprensa in Praia in December 2009. The project was born out of the desire to explore debates about the former Tarrafal prison camp and the lives of the political prisoners incarcerated there during Portuguese colonial rule. The prison camp was set up by the Salazar regime near the beautiful Tarrafal beach, on the island of Santiago.

A memorial conference, organised by the Amílcar Cabral Foundation, was held last year. The main aim of this institution is to promote the memory of this famous Guinean-Cape Verdean hero. Recently, under the direction of Samira Pereira, it has also been involved in organising cultural activities aimed at young people. This foundation provided the means to allow the artists César Schofield Cardoso and João Paredela to carry out the Khatàrsis Project.

Female victims

The installation is based on a video by Cardoso, where the human rights violations that took place at Tarrafal are represented in a universal and symbolic way by showing a woman being subjected to violence, her small frame defenceless in her white dress. While men were locked up and tortured in the camp, those who were left behind – their wives and children – were just as much victims of the totalitarian regime.

The victim is played by the artist Soizic Larcher, who at the end of the video engages in action painting, where the physical action of painting represents a catharsis – the only solution to counter the eternal, inevitable violence of man.


Sandra Federici in:

05.06.2010 | par samirapereira | audiovisual, cabo verde, fundação amílcar cabral, instalação, praia, tarrafal