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· Culture · · T. Filomena Abreu · P. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Pedro Pina

Europa Oxalá

The exhibition that questions colonial history and dismantles clichés

PMmedia Adv.
The past meets the present when 21 European artists, with origins in the former ‘colonies’ of Africa, reflect on their heritage and identities in an exhibition that will be on show in the main gallery of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon, until August 22. The exhibition Europa Oxalá features some 60 works of painting, drawing, sculpture, film, photography and installation by Afro-Europeans, whose parents and grandparents were born or lived in Angola, Congo, Benin, Guinea, Algeria and Madagascar. From them they have inherited indirect memories, which reached them diffusely, through family, friends and everyday public life.
And they are not only voices, sounds and gestures, they are images and recollections of their cultures of origin, starting points for important research work in personal and institutional historical archives. Artistic productions that fuel an original reflection on racism, the decolonisation of the arts, the status of women in contemporary society and the deconstruction of colonial thought.
Initially shown at the MUCEM – Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée –, it will move on to the Royal Museum of Central Africa – AfricaMuseum –, in Tervuren, Belgium, after its time in the Portuguese capital. The exhibition is part of the Portugal-France Season.

«Artistic productions that fuel original reflection on racism»

The innovative and transnational nature of the work of these «post-memory» artists has deeply marked the artistic and cultural landscape of the last two decades. The way in which some of them combine contemporary languages and traditional processes bears witness to the creative power of contemporary European cultural diversity, opening new perspectives to the very notion of Europe.
António Pinto Ribeiro, the exhibition’s curator, together with Katia Kameli and Aimé Mpane (both artists also represented in the show), explains that this is an exhibition «that wants to shatter clichés, making visible and feelable a new energy that looks to the future».
The title of the show points exactly in that direction, by introducing a word - oxalá - which results from centuries of integration, [originating from the Arabic inshallah, ‘god willing’] and which translates an idea of future under construction, in a Europe which is the common ground of all these artists.

«In the summer, there will be three music weekends in the garden, curated by Dino d’Santiago»

Represented artists include: Aimé Mpane, Aimé Ntakiyica, Carlos Bunga, Délio Jasse, Djamel Kokene-Dorléans, Fayçal Baghriche, Francisco Vidal, John K. Cobra, Katia Kameli, Mohamed Bourouissa, Josèfa Ntjam, Malala Andrialavidrazana, Márcio Carvalho, Mónica de Miranda, Nú Barreto, Pauliana Valente Pimentel, Pedro A. H. Paixão, Sabrina Belouaar, Sammy Baloji, Sandra Mujinga and Sara Sadik.
In the summer, there will be three music weekends in the garden, curated by Dino d’Santiago (June 24-26, July 01-03 and July 08-10); outdoor cinema (June 24-25, July 01-02 and July 08-09); and a moment of theatre created and starring actress and director Zia Soares (July 15).
T. Filomena Abreu
P. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Pedro Pina