I sat down to talk with 5 artists who are ready and equipped for the continuing expansion of the story – and history – that are the Visual Arts in Angola. What I received were testimonies of impressive attitude and dignity. Irene A’mosi, Lilianne Kiame, Hélder Garcia, Magno Daniel, and Resem Verkron are the artists in the next group exhibition of JAHMEK CONTEMPORARY ART.
They, the artists, are focused on the ideas they want to materialize. I, the privileged observer, cannot shake the joy of certainty that is the renewal of our aesthetic symbols. It is that playing at making art can also be, the commitment to the development of Thought manifested in the tangible object. I feel this dimension in the breathing of this collective gesture.
Painting, photography, literature, and video are the formats present in the exhibition, but I suggest that what we will be witnessing is the daring to invest in what we believe is crucial in life.
“… I owe loyalty and patience to my creativity …”
Lilianne tells me in an assured, shy, fragile and determined way. From her gaze, generously cutting, I sense power. A kind of power that if she knew she had it we would all be servants of the determination with which she operates her living. Is it paint? Yes paint, yes brush, and then a little bit more. It is a determining affirmation of existence beyond over-living. Life and living should not be confused, your work invites me to this unenforceable discernment…
“…time, time is my greatest challenge …”
Everything in his voice reveals purpose, on purpose, with purpose. Helder shares with me examples that inspire the discipline he recognizes is necessary to get where he wants to go … I look at his work and feel he has already arrived where many of us have suffered a lifetime to get; in the crucial realization of the strength that is commitment to the consequences of our choices. His work is time, his work is technical rigor, his work is also the tranquility of knowing that everything with nothing is illusion of the mind and not material reality … is a brutal invitation, in the most delicate of arenas; our gaze.
“…I want to build up the Lords of these streets …”
Easy smile, clear eye, and an abundant supply of invitations to celebrate the invisibility of the living. Resem articulates his ideas in words, images, sounds – mainly the sound of a voice that hides and reveals ambitions, pains, belongings, and the monsters that only light can reveal. There is a strength and manifest relationship with the necessary dignity that comes from the simple fact of being alive and wanting to stay that way.
“… Life outside the bed is bad …”
I can’t stand suffering people, and I have even less patience for people who don’t know how to monetize the inevitable pain that is being a person. Irene reminded me why I am passionate about the LIVING process. Its energy is that of pain that refuses to be suffering, and so it is undeniable movement. I don’t know if the intensity with which it is shared is sustainable; I know that in her work the exploration of the pulse of what happens to us is indeclinable…. and in it, everything happens.
“…I am interested in the now of now …”
Reality is something totally useless, unless it is a springboard to propel the dwelling of our imaginations? Perhaps that is an exaggeration … I look at Magno’s work and feel that he has been given a Divine brief to democratize our imaginations. His black & white are a rainbow of possibilities, that asks us for the willingness to look once more, and always again. To discover the magic in our empty pockets is a daring proposal. I accept it, in favor of all that is yet to be imagined.
Making sense of it all is Mehak Verma Vieira. She says this is the first exhibition where she will be the gallerist, and also the curator. I don’t believe so! For the more attentive Mehak has been articulating thought to the artists she works with since the start of her gallery in 2018. None of the projects I have witnessed her produce were devoid of what the best curators have to offer an artist; guidance, availability, viability, ego massage, firmness, confidence, and a commitment to “the best we know how to do, always!”.
“…materializing ideas is how I feel I am progressing…”
Is ambition a bad thing? It will always depend, in favor of what!
The challenge of working with a new, and young, group of artists is galvanizing and a risk that Mehak has begun to confront in recent years. After embracing – and being embraced by – a generation of artists with already viable careers, it was only a matter of time before the challenge of nurturing new talent presented itself in the Spirit of what is the pulse of JAHMEK CONTEMPORARY ART. It is hard to imagine her being intimidated by anything, and with the exposure her team toasts Luanda with the impression I get is that we want her ambitious for many, many years to come.
I am not an art critic, and these paragraphs are not intended to convince you that the only possible future is today – that responsibility belongs to you. I declare that in the JAHMEK CONTEMPORARY ART gallery, there is a gesture that should make us confident about a crop of artists who declare, clearly, that our confidence should not be in the certainty of our ignorance, but in the availability of our search. Let’s go together.