Indépendance Cha Cha, 2014
Courtesy of the artist and Fundação EDP, Lisbon.
Indépendance Cha Cha is a sculpture evoking 1950s colonial architecture in Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga, and architectural features of Lumiar Cité, Portugal. It is used as the screen for two videos, one which documents a performance for the work’s original location at the Lubumbashi Biennale. Two singers present the traditional song “Je vais entrer dans la mine,” recalling a young man writing to his mother about his fears of dying while being forced to go underground in the mines. The other video presents the Park Hotel band interpreting “Indépendance Cha Cha,” an emblematic anthem of African independence in the 1960s written by Joseph Kabasele in Brussels when the Belgian and Congolese delegations decided the date of independence.
Messy Colonialism, Wild Decolonization, 2015
Sculpture, variable dimensions
Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon.
In Messy Colonialism, Wild Decolonization, images within a sculpture document the hundreds of crates that contained belongings of the so-called “retornados.” This was the expression used by the Portuguese to identify citizens that “returned” from ex-colonies during the hasty and messy independence process, euphemistically dubbed “decolonization.” The wave of political turbulence which swept the country after the coup d’état of April 25, 1974 did not facilitate the speedy clearing of luggage which remained almost ignored in Lisbon for years. These images portray the spoils of the end of colonialism, abandoned on the quayside in Belém, standing up against the fascist and colonial Monument to the Discoveries on the Praça do Império!
Indépendance Cha Cha (2014), Messy Colonialism, Wild Decolonization (2015), Installation view Röda Sten Konsthall, GIBCA 2015. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler