North East Hosts UK Premiere of Agora Luanda at ¡VAMOS!
A collaboration between Angolan filmmaker Kiluanje Liberdade and Portuguese photographer Inês Gonçalves, Agora Luanda (Luanda Now) – which makes its UK debut at Newcastle’s Guildhall today – offers a strikingly honest look at the lives of people living in modern-day Angola.
Refreshingly, war and poverty are largely off the menu, with the exhibition and accompanying films instead depicting ordinary people who assert their dignity by using their imagination and creativity to overcome everyday difficulties. Wrenched from the deafening silence of their condition, these people heartedly put themselves and their stories on display.
Running until 14 July as part of this year’s ¡VAMOS! festival, the exhibition will be accompanied by a series of film screenings at Great North Museum, Hancock. Luanda: Factory of Music (6pm, Monday 5 July) presents a unique portrait of underprivileged people escaping through music, while Other Neighbourhoods (6pm, Tuesday 6 July) and Hope the Pitanga Cherries Grow (6pm, Thursday 7 July) talk about how imagination is often used as a survival tactic.
“These are stories of men, women and children, willing to get to the right place, even if by crooked paths. People who want to straighten their paths at any cost, people who are capable, moreover, of making their own paths,” says Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa about the exhibition. “They are portraits of a city that resists stubbornly, despite scarcities of all kinds. The Luanda that laughs, dances and celebrates life, even while in mourning. The Luanda that falls in love and gives of itself, despite the continuing neglect of public authorities. The Luanda that knows (or senses) that sex is subversion, that sex is revolution, and which invented Kuduro and Tarrachinha, after having invented Semba or Kizomba. The Luanda that is giving a new soul to the Portuguese language.”
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