DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Kiluanji Kia Henda

English
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O.R.G.A.S.M. (As god wants and devil likes it) : photograph and object installation, 2011, courtesy of the artist.

O.R.G.A.S.M., the Organization of African States for Mellowness takes an ironic look at Western non-governmental organizations whose so-called philanthropic interventions reinforce a Western discourse and media representation of Africa as ridden with war, diseases, and poverty. The work, which is a satire, is configured as an imaginary African NGO that provides aid and grants to the West. By distorting expectations of who needs international aid, Kia Henda cloaks the vices of NGOs in humor yet draws attention to power dynamics, issues of race, and global relations. A series of manipulated images of leaders from the European Union are among the photographs in the installation as are photographs of Kia Henda’s friends and of himself. The hairstyles of white European Union leaders are altered to look like African hairstyles, a blatant remark on race that at once invokes humor and discomfort. All of the photographs incorporate O.R.G.A.S.M.’s flag, which appears in numerous aspects of the installation. The flag is a symbol of this imaginary organization and also symbolic of how NGOs brand their charities. The installation provides a critical insight on how charity has become part-business and part-propaganda.

Born in Luanda, Angola, in 1979, Kiluanji Kia Henda is an autodidact which a profound springboard into this realm comes from growing up in a household of photography enthusiasts and spending time with photographer turned paparazzo John Liebenberg whose documentary photographs from apartheid and Angolan civil war, helped the artist discover the power of images to reveal untold stories. His conceptual edge was sharpened by immersing himself into music, avant-garde theater and collaborating with a collective of emerging artists. Using humor and irony, he interferes on subjects as identity, politics, perceptions of postcolonial and modernism in Africa. Working in pervert complicity with the historical legacy, Kia Henda sees the process of appropriation and manipulation of the public spaces and structures, and the different representations that makes part of the collective memory, as a relevant complexion of his aesthetical construction. In 2006, his involvement in the artists’ residency programme for the 1st Luanda Triennial resulted in the project entitled Ngola Bar, later presented in Venice at the 53rd Biennale (2007). During the same period, in Cape Town, he developed and showed the projects Expired Trading Products and Nuclear Garden of Mr. Young at the Blank Projects space, in the course of a residency co-funded by the Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia. In 2008 he created Icarus 13 for the show entitled Farewell to Post-Colonialism at the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, shown also in 2010 at the 29th São Paulo Biennial. In 2009, he created Trans It, presented at the Evento 2009 festival (Bordeaux), and in 2010 at 2nd Lubumbashi Biennial. Also in 2010, also in the course of an artists’ residency organised by the Fondazione di Venezia, he created Self Portrait as a White Man, shown at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, in Venice, an later at Galleria Fonti (Naples), and in the exhibition entitled Geografias Emocionais – Arte e Afecto at the 2nd Luanda Biennial. In 2011, on the invitation of the Bétonsalon art centre, with funding from the Institut Français, Kia Henda spent four months on a residency in Paris to work on O.R.G.A.S.M.. In the same year, in Luanda, he developed the project Homem Novo which was selected and shown for the first time, in 2012, in the Art Statements section of Art Basel 43, and in the group show Les Praires presented at the 3rd Les Ateliers de Rennes contemporary art biennial. Kiluanji Kia Henda received nominations for the 2011 BES Photo Award, Lisbon and the Foam Paul Huf Award, Amsterdam. In 2012 he won the National Award for Culture and the Arts from the Angolan Ministry of Culture.

puce See also: www.gfilomenasoares.com//en/artists/cv/kiluanji-kia-henda

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