Accepted Paper:

Falling radio towers and flying mausoleums: iconographies of revolution and utopia in the work of Ângela Ferreira and Kiluanji Kia Henda  


Ana Balona de Oliveira (University of Lisbon/ New University of Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss two works by Ângela Ferreira and Kiluanji Kia Henda as relevant contributions towards thinking about image, utopia, revolution and futurity within African contemporary artistic practice.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will examine the non-linear temporalities and fictional narratives which emerge in the sculptural, video and text-based installation 'For Mozambique (Models no. 1, 2, 3 Celebrating a Post-Independence Utopia)' (2008) by Ângela Ferreira (b. Maputo, 1958) and the photographic, sculptural and text-based installation 'Icarus 13: The First Journey to the Sun' (2006-2008) by Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. Luanda, 1979). Despite the generational and geographical gap between Ferreira and Kia Henda, and their different approaches in terms of medium, these two works present similarities that should not pass unnoticed. Both artists have turned images pertaining to the colonial, anti- and post-colonial histories of the countries they come from - images of revolution, utopia and futurity - into critical strategies to think about the past, present and future not only of Mozambique and Angola but also of other geographies, in Africa and elsewhere. Fictions, narratives and myths, coming either from the past or the future, inhabit concrete, historical architectures - celebratory and falling radio towers; celebratory and flying mausoleums; both with Soviet and Cold War historical connections and pregnant of present-day political and critical meanings.

Panel P083
Revolution 3.0: iconographies of utopia in Africa and its diaspora