For the past decade, the arts scene in oil-rich Angola has been booming. It’s so strong, it has taken the international arts community by surprise. Angola won the award for Best National Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale despite it being the first time the country exhibited there. Angola now boasts numerous prestigious galleries and cultural centers, and is home to the Trienal de Luanda, an annual event held to enhance Angolan and African culture, and stimulate artistic interest in citizens. The event was first held in 2007 and attracts visitors from all over the world.
With an environment that supports the arts, Angola’s arts community is thriving. These 10 contemporary Angolan artists represent just a slice of its talent.
Sources: Wikipedia.org, Angolarising.Blogspot.com, Contemporaryand.com, FormerWest.org, AfricaVenir.org
This AFKInsider article was first published May 29, 2014.
Pocas Pascoal is a filmmaker whose work bridges the boundary between documentary and art. She was born in Angola and was the first-ever camerawoman to work in Angolan broadcasting. Pascoal’s films are often very personal and intimate in nature, taking on themes such as war, displacement, helplessness, and familial bonds. Her films have been screened at art exhibitions and film festivals around the globe. The drama, “Por aqui Tudo Bem” (All is Well) won the TAP Award for Best Portuguese Fiction Feature Film.
Born in 1981, Mosquito is part of a younger generation of African artists who are experimenting with media such as performance art, video, spoken word, and music. His works challenges stereotypes of Africans by putting them in a Western contexts. He has exhibited worldwide, including at the Tate Modern in London and the Sao Paulo Biennale.
N’Dino Mutima is an Angolan artist who mainly works in photography but also incorporates elements of performance and installation into his work. His most famous work is series of photographs in which he shows himself wearing various objects on his face — a reference to traditional African masks.
Angolan artist Yonamine has lived in numerous places around the world including Brazil, Great Britain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Portugal. This multicultural influence can be seen in his installation works which break down stereotypes about Africa. The spontaneity of his work can be seen in the numerous different objects that come together to create them, such as magazine pages, old photographs and discarded cigarette boxes which are hurriedly painted upon.
Helga Gamboa is a ceramics artist who combines traditional methods with modern imagery. The combination often produces shocking results, such as when glaze resembles blood pouring out of a vessel, or when a dish has a warning on it such as “DANGER MINES.” Gamboa now lives and works in the U.K.
Paulo Kussy is one of Angola’s most celebrated artists. His paintings are large and bold in their use of color, often combining styles like graffiti art, Japanese printmaking and Soviet propaganda art. Kussy left Angola at a young age and lived in many different countries before studying art in Lisbon and eventually returning to Angola to exhibit.
Edson Chagas is one of the artists who represented Angola in the 55th Venice Biennale for which the country won the prestigious Golden Lion Award. Chagas primarily works in photography and shows images that depict social issues, critique consumerism, and show relationships between space and time.
Guerra Marques is a dancer and choreographer considered a pioneer of Angolan contemporary dance. She studied classical dance from a young age at the Dancing Academy of Luanda. After Angolan independence, most dancing teachers left the country. Despite the fact she was only a teenager at the time, Guerra Marques was put in charge of what was the only dancing school in all of Angola. She is known for using dance as a form of social critique, and also for using disabled dancers in her works.
Chilala Moco is the son of the former Angolan Prime Minister Marcolino Moco. While his familial connections may have helped him excel in the arts world, Moco deserves the recognition he has received as a photographer. His portraiture work shows the humanity of everyday Angolan people in stunning realism.
Kiluanji Kia Henda is an Angolan photographer whose work has received international acclaim. His photographs deal with Africa’s colonial past by juxtaposing European and African imagery, such as in his work, “The Great Italian Nude,” in which he shows an African chief reclining on a sofa in the style of an Italian renaissance painting.
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