“all sarrows can be borne if you put them into a story and tell a story about it”
“Path to the Stars” brings together a new set of works by Mónica de Miranda, an artist whose interdisciplinary practice investigates convergences between politics, identity, gender, memory and place, as well as the complexities of identity construction within her own geographies of affection. The multidisciplinary project is articulated around three complementary research axes: continuities and discontinuities of history, creating a parallel between the liberation struggles in Africa and the struggles of the diaspora; the struggles of women throughout history and a reflection on the Anthropocene.
The exhibition is built around a central piece, the film “Path to the Stars”, shot along the Kwanza River, the longest in Angola and birthplace of the Ndongo kingdom. Through the vitality and strength of mother nature, an analogy is created between the body and the territory – the river is intrinsically related to the history of the Atlantic, with the territory being the first body to be penetrated by the colonists in search of material riches. As past, present and future converge in Kwanza, water appears as a material that unites all animate and inanimate beings in sharing the consequences of their actions, intertwining social, cultural, capital and geophysical flows.
The film follows a heroine’s journey from sunrise to sunset, confronted by her own shadow and by different temporalities and micro-narratives, proposing a counter-narrative composed of complex biographies that overlap and interact. Water as an element of memory evokes cyclical or spiral temporalities: “Caminho Para As Estrelas” articulates a time-space that is not fixed, but that connects and flows with matter, and works structurally and conceptually like a river that, when branching unveils metaphors and distinct layers of stories. The soundscape that complements it, composed by Xullaji, a longtime collaborator of Mónica de Miranda, expands the construction of these meanings.
With this set of works, Mónica de Miranda explores different ways of thinking about human subjectivity, language and politics, challenging us to think about the multiple dimensions of the human and its relationship with the environment that surrounds us, and to reflect on what historical, political and social issues exacerbate environmental issues. The use of allegories introduces a particular cosmovision and different ontologies rooted in Aphrodiasporic experiences. In “Path to the Stars” the “territory” is not understood as the river, the land, the forests and the inhabitants of this ecosystem, but as a permeable space where the relationships between man and the environment occur. It is also history, memory, culture and spirituality – the space where individual and collective identities are built and exist in constant transformation.
At a time when humanity faces several challenges, such as increased discrimination, wars and ecological disasters, Mónica de Miranda opens significant discussions about belonging. In its broader proposal of historical review, the project proposes a place of transposition and reinvention of personal and cultural identity, and creates an opportunity to share and seek future directions through creative reflection and imagination.