Toy Boy

Toy Boy (b.1976) lives and works in Luanda, Angola.

He defines his artistic style as photographic documentation of Luanda’s
Urbanization. Coexisting intimately with an urban environment, he lived almost all his life in Luanda’s slums, whose streets inspire his creativity and provide him with the materials for his work.

Toy Boy’s art reflects his critical view on social everyday issues; he articulates the raw, coarse, corrupt, social and gender tensions in Luanda’s ever-changing urban environment. He does this by focusing on the human presence, by looking at the daily lives of people who experience the city’s harsh realities just as he does. His work is deeply grounded in Angola’s past and present. Toy Boy’s artistic style owes little to local traditions but also borrows from Western styles and techniques and does with them as he pleases. Sometimes he opts for pop art or comics, other times for collages or ready-mades.

With eyes wide open to social needs, Toy Boy claims to be an artist trained by the “school of life” and we can perceive through his work, his admiration and appreciation for the sarcastic insight of women towards the “tougher”. Driven by economic constraints, he uses recycled materials such as jute, linoleum or cotton, which is not typical of local artists but strongly connects his work to the locale. Anyone familiar with contemporary Angolan society will immediately understand Toy Boy’s work: the message is loud and clear. Other audiences benefit from the opportunity to interpret the work in its own right.