Art@Site www.artatsite.com Kiluanji Kia Henda Queen Nzinga Angola
Artist:

Kiluanji Kia Henda

Title:

Queen Nzinga

Year:
2014
Adress:
Queen Nzinga
Website:
www.contemporaryand.com:
Kiluanji Kia Henda’s As god wants and the devil likes it comprises a series of works concerned primarily with conceptions of Africa, its history and its future. Held at Brundyn+, the exhibition contemplates the aftermath of colonialism and its mark on the current Angolan physical, social and political landscape.
The series Balumuka (Ambush) is a portrayal of an open-air transit zone in Luanda, one that has metaphorically and physically become a cemetery for numerous monuments that have throughout history found their way to pillars across the country. Amidst the occupants of this graveyard of history is a statue of Queen Nzinga Mbande who ruled Angola in the 1600s – she stands sternly in the enclosed yard, ironically juxtaposed against some of the main figures of colonialism, including Luis Vaz de Camões, Dom Afonso Henriques and Pedro Ànvadres Cabral.
Through this juxtapositioning, Kia Henda uses the imaginary to reflect on numerous moments and perhaps versions of thory of the country, and in so doing, could be seen to automatically project a future for Angola. He provides an alternative to how history is perceived and comments on the (non)permanence, significance and historical heritage of objects of history.
The photographs form part the series Homem Novo- New Man, which is a reference to the Angolan national anthem and reflects the nation’s aspiration to reinvent its national identity following their 1975 independence.

www.weareaia.ch:
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often hones in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of post-colonialism and modernism in Africa. Kia Henda brings a critical edge to his multidisciplinary practice, which incorporates photography, video, and performance. Informed by a background surrounded by photography enthusiasts, Kia Henda’s conceptual-based work has further been sharpened by exposure to music, avant-garde theatre, and collaborations a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. Much of Kia Henda’s work draws on history through the appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, in order to produce complex, yet powerful imagery.

www.weareaia.ch:
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) is a conceptual artist who seeks ways to reconcile cultures. His postcolonial practice repeatedly raises the dark history of today’s successful countries whose wealth was built on colonialism. The monument is Kia Henda’s subject of investigation. In Angola, his birth country, many statues of colonizers are still found in public space. Through photography, a medium considered to be documentary, the artist points history in a new direction by placing Angolans on pedestals. Reoccupying the position of power instead of rewriting history, he comes to terms with the trauma of colonization.

www.contemporaryand.com:
Accompanying thgined history and future for Angola is the series O.R.G.A.S.M (Organization of African States for Mellowness), which consists of two wall artworks that problematise the perception and perpetual representation of Africa as in constant need of assistance. Africa has perennially been represented as an AIDS-ridden, famine infested and war tormented space. British-Ghanaian scholar and artist Kodwo Eshun theorises the need to create countermemories for Africa. Kia Henda adopts this strategy by appropriating the numerous American and European NGOs that flock to Africa to relive its suffering citizens of their dire socio-political circumstances. He does this by creating an imaginary African NGO, one that provides relief to Europe. Perhaps the artist is calling for a reflection on the reasons for the need to provide aid, thus echoing Slavoj Žižek’s criticism of the speedy donations from the West without reflecting on the colonial, neocolonial and capitalist reasons that drove the so-called third world to what it cntly is. The donations reinforce the superior-inferior relationship between Africa and the West and recalls Franz Fanon’s[3] analogy of the West’s paternal relationship to Africa. The aid is cathartic and provides a pleasurable and orgasmic experience for the donors.
Kia Henda’s video, Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady, is an eery and unsettling projection of an apocalyptic city. The video implements science fictitious strategies in its portrayal of an absence of people and life on earth. Adopting an Afrofuturist reading of the work, the occupants of the city could be seen to have been teleported to a different time, somewhere in the future, or to a different planet much like the one advocated for by Sun Ra, where black people move to Saturn in order to escape the “abjection, violation, and invisibility that Blacks occupy” on earth.

www.weareaia.ch:
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) is a conceptual artist who seeks ways to reconcile cultures. His postcolonial practice repes the dark history of today’s successful countries whose wealth was built on colonialism. The monument is Kia Henda’s subject of investigation. In Angola, his birth country, many statues of colonizers are still found in public space. Through photography, a medium considered to be documentary, the artist points history in a new direction by placing Angolans on pedestals. Reoccupying the position of power instead of rewriting history, he comes to terms with the trauma of colonization.

www.foam.org:
In Redefining The Power, I aimed to replace the colonial heroes and the war symbols with something extremely alive, people that I would consider as my cultural heroes, from a poet to a gay rights defender. I think every city should have empty pedestals that could be customized regarding our passions, instead of having representations in cold stone of dead people that no one really cares about today and most of them are connected with wars or political power. The emptiness of those pedestals was also taphor of the absence of a reflection about the history and the society we were living in during the turbulent years of the civil war.
The creation of Homem Novo (New Man), was one of the aims during the socialist period in Angola just after the independence. Today in South Africa there is a popular new movement called Rhodes Must Fall, and it basically consists in taking down all the monuments and changing the names of streets that are somehow still a celebration of the colonial period. This happened in Angola as well, mainly in Luanda, in the first years of the independence.
This project does not intend to deal with post-colonialism, because it’s not a revivalism of the colonial period, but yes, it is the new philosophy and political posture of the post-independence society, in opposition of what was proposed and inherited by the colonial power. There's always been a discussion on ‘what the hell are we going to do with those colonial monuments?’. I consider those monuments clandestine citizen expired visas: they should be deported to their place of origin after paying the fine for illegal permanence. Or it would be a more clever decision to do an exchange with some important objects of art stolen from Africa and kept by many western museums. That would be fair.
I am starting a new research on the Cold War and its roots and effects in Africa, specifically in Angola. It will take some years but I am not in hurry, it’s a long term project. Besides that, I am still developing an ongoing project called A City Called Mirage which is more connected with the problem of the architecture and housing of today, the ability to build a city but at same time to create a desert within. If we add up all the squares meters of the empty cities and neighbourhoods worldwide, we are in a presence of gigantic concrete desert that can compete with the Sahara. Regarding the book there isn´t any date for the publication, only Gerhard Steidl can give an exact date, but I believe it will be very soon.

www.hke:
What significance do exploitation and oppression have in the modern culture of memory? How is this shaped by internal and external colonization? Can monuments not only be razed, but revised? Two works on historical remembrance and the monuments debate.
With Redefining the Power, Kiluanji Kia Henda presents works from his long-term photography series Homen Nuovo (New Man) on the fate of colonial monuments in Luanda. Most statues celebrating “discovery,” conquest, enslavement and domination were already damaged or removed in Luanda during the civil war period (1975 to 2002). A city with empty pedestals represents a time of transition, a dangerous but productive uncertainty in terms of collective memory and imagining the future. In his photographic works, Kiluanji Kia Henda stages on these pedestals pivotal figures from Angola’s contemporary cultural life and underground, but also from the African diaspora in Portugal.

www.tate.org.uk:
Learning from the past and looking to the futurKiluanji Kia Henda: 'There are two questions which are vital to the African context: the ability to write and know one’s own history, and the ability to plan one’s own future.'
Identities past and future are important themes in Kiluanji Kia Henda’s work. As an artist he feels it is important to go through the traumatic process of looking at the past to understand it.
He remembers growing up in Angola in the 1980s as a time of both chaos and excitement. His father was involved in the struggle for independence and discussions about politics were a part of family life. Once independence had been won, his parents’ generation started to plan a new identity for Angola.
In his ongoing project Homem Novo (New Man), Kia Henda references the history of Angola as a Portuguese colony, while at the same time celebrating the country’s new identity and its future.
Kia Henda re-purposes Luanda’s empty plinths that once held colonial statues of kings and military leaders. He invites artist friends figures – including a fashion designer, a poet and a LGBTQ+ rights defender – to perform on the plinths. He then photographs the plinths and their new occupants from the same position as they appear in old tourist postcards. By doing this he directly contrasts old and new, ‘replacing war heroes with cultural heroes’. The work becomes a powerful symbol of the colonial ‘then’ and the independent ‘now’.

www.foam.org:
Kiluanji Kia Henda (1979) is a photographer and visual artist. His photographs grapple with colonial history and perceptions of modernism in Angola. He lives and works in Luanda, Angola, and Lisbon, Portugal. Henda has participated in several residency programs and exhibitions. In 2012 he won the National Award for Culture and the Arts from the Angolan Ministry of Culture.
Kiluanji Kia Henda: In my family photography has been always a passion, even though none of us has worked with it professionally. I had the luck to have a studio at home when I was a teenager, tha older brother Cassiano Bamba, with equipment that he bought in Moscow when he was studying there. I had some curiosity but I was not into the visual art universe. As an artist, at the beginning I was more connected with music and I also worked in theatre, but when I had the opportunity to hang out with the visual artists from downtown Luanda, it brought me back to the field of photography.

www.dutchartinstitute.eu:
Kiluanji Kia Henda (born 1979) is a photographer and visual artist. His photographs grapple with colonial history and perceptions of modernism in Angola.
Recent exhibitions include: Experimental Station: Research and Artistic Phenomena, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M), Madrid, 2011; Other Possible Worlds, NGBK, Berlin, 2011; 2nd Luanda Triennale, Luanda, 2010; and 29th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, 2010. Henda lives and works in Luand