In a candongueiro, poetry travels to the window. In the audiovisual work “Poesia Passageira”, the writer and poet Irene A’Mosi captured its sounds, images and language. The video installation that accompanies our daily trips is part of “For a New Tomorrow”, an exhibition of emerging artists that starts this Friday, November 25th, at Jahmek Contemporary Art, Hotel Globo, sponsored by Tigra.
In Luanda’s candongueiros people run, argue, shout, laugh and despair. One sweats in the ups and downs of tight bodies and reinvents the day-to-day – each day, every day. “In opposition to this everyday life, Art”, shoots Irene A’Mosi. With this idea in mind, the writer and poet ventured into the audiovisual sector and created “Poesia Passageira”, a video installation that records the collective memory of this frenetic world with its own vocabulary and the smell of burnt oil. The work will be on display at the exhibition “For a New Tomorrow”, at the Jahmek Contemporary Art gallery, starting this Friday.
Irene’s artistic manifesto is blunt – “I’m from the periphery” – and is the guiding principle of “Poesia Passageira”. “Those who live on the outskirts create an intense relationship with this coming and going of candongueiros and I come from a very distant neighborhood, Bita, from where I had to take five taxis to get to the city”, she reports.
During these “interminable hours”, he abstracted from the stop-and-go and focused on “the conversations of the passengers and the short phrases painted on the windows, which emphasized the taxi drivers’ positions on life and society”. Thus was born the “idea of portraying this form of communication”. Over time, the project ended up evolving into “an inevitable narrative about social inequality”, in which the “sounds inside taxis and conversations between passengers, drivers and operators” alternate with the “noise of cars in motion”. and the uproar of the stops.”
At the center of this cacophony, “the word” plays a leading role. Irene says: “The people who work in this type of service have a language of their own. Many taxi drivers use new terms or modify words (‘Gorfo 2! Gorfo 2!’), but curiously, they make themselves understood perfectly.” “In Angola we reinvent the way of speaking every day. It is our way of expressing ourselves and maintaining fluid communication. That’s how we understand each other, and that’s why I don’t interpret these words as grammatical errors or any other kind of misrepresentation of the Portuguese language, but rather as something new and very much ours.”
In this “deconstruction of norms and models that often do not represent us”, Irene believes that “Art has an important role” and hopes that works such as “Poesia Passageira” will encourage this discussion. With the video installation, the also screenwriter of Geração 80 takes us, full throttle and loud music, through peripheral circuits, now dust and now mud, where the word is its own thing.
During the “For A New Tomorrow” exhibition, Irene’s poetic candongueiro will have a reserved place outside the Hotel Globo, where the gallery is located. popup by Jahmek Contemporary Art. “It is an important milestone”, she considers. Spaces like this are generally inaccessible to the world the writer comes from.
The arrival of the imaginary blue and white to the old hotel in downtown Luanda sets off “a paradigm shift”. “Taking the street to a space like the Jahmek gallery, in an event supported by such an important brand as Tigra, is surprising for someone like me. I come from the street, I don’t have university studies. From the end of high school until now, everything I learned was on the streets, where I had to learn to survive from a very early age as an artist and a person.”
“With this opportunity”, he continues, “the periphery finally gains representation in artistic centers”. “Many artists who exhibit works on ‘the street’ in galleries do not really belong to this world. They intend to address a problem, but end up seeing ‘the street’ as an object that they can paint or photograph, but never understand. In fact, ‘the street’ is much more than a landscape, it is part of our experiences, it communicates with us, and we have to listen to what it has to say about us, about our past and our future”, he argues.
It is precisely this voice that Irene wants to raise as an artist who has taken on the mission of “gathering collective memories”. “I don’t want to be a mere decorative element among so many artists”, but rather “use Art to disturb, shock, provoke”. “It’s a bet on the future”, she underlines. “I want, through these records, the next generations to know how we lived, how we behaved, what our narratives were. In this way, they will be able to understand which paths worked or not, which mistakes we made and which they should not repeat”.
Among the memories accumulated in this trunk that fills little by little, Irene A’Mosi searches for answers. “Life is a sequence of questions that we, as artists, have to help answer through our work. We have to question what we see and help find solutions, so that we don’t drag out old problems indefinitely as a society.” For the poetess, who participates in “For a New Tomorrow” with four other emerging artists (Resem Verkron, Magno Daniel, Hélder Garcia and Lilianne Kiame), “they are spaces of freedom like those that Jahmek and Tigra provide, without any kind of of censorship or limitation”, which “allow young people to think about how to induce this different future through Art”.
An openness that, by the way, had already been felt previously by Tigra. She has been in the art world for seven years, where she started by participating in spoken word, Irene participated in other events sponsored by the brand, such as the Women’s Film Festival or Slam Tundavala. She also collaborated with “Mulheres com Pulungunza”, a project dedicated to female empowerment, in which Tigra is a partner.
In this “incessant” search for solutions and visibility, Irene knows that answers and results are not immediate, “you have to pursue them”. For the time being, she says, she will continue to “bet on audiovisual production”, which she discovered this year when she made the short film “Museu de Manifestação”, where she reports on the mobility difficulties of people with physical disabilities in Luanda. In her creative world, word and image will always be the perfect complement. Together, they describe a world where stories are told as they are: “a space and time occupied by lights and darkness”.