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Accepted Paper:

Vamona Navelcar’s Lost Suitcase: Drawing (from) the Impossibility of Nation in The Destination is the Journey  
R. Benedito Ferrão (William Mary) Vishvesh Prabhakar Kandolkar (Goa College of Architecture)

Paper short abstract:

The Destination is the Journey (2017), a graphic novel about Goan Mozambiquan artist Vamona Navelcar, offers an opportunity to examine alternative forms of history-recording and sharing about Lusophone Africa.

Paper long abstract:

Vamona Navelcar (1929-2021) is an artist whose life and career spanned colonial and postcolonial regimes in three continents, all of which contributed to his art and the ongoing challenge of preserving his pluricontinental legacy. This is precisely because neither Navelcar nor his artistic production can firmly be categorized as being solely Africa, Asian, or European.

The artist lived in Goa and Mozambique of the Portuguese and post-Portuguese eras, as well as Portugal of and after its colonial period. The most emblematic object that captured Navelcar’s transcontinental history was a suitcase the artist lost while leaving Mozambique, which he was exiled from in 1976 at the end of colonial rule. In it were nearly a thousand pieces of art which were never recovered upon the artist’s arrival in Portugal. Navelcar’s missing suitcase plays the role of the narrator of the artist’s life-itinerary in the graphic novel The Destination is the Journey (2017).

Take cue from the graphic novel, this presentation seeks to situate the artist’s biography and art politically within (and as indication of) Lusophonic Indian Ocean colonial and postcolonial histories. Tying Navelcar’s time in the colonial metropole to the inter-and intraoceanic linkages he created aesthetically and through his own movements across these terrains, we seek out the anticolonial and postcolonial critiques his art and existence offer. In so doing, we ask how alternative forms of chronicling such histories – as is the case in the graphic novel – may function in decolonizing how representations of African multiculturality are gathered, preserved, and shared.

Panel Anth20
African futures and the current decolonial turn
  Session 2 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -