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(Re)imagining African Independence

Film, Visual Arts and the Fall of the Portuguese Empire


Maria do Carmo Piçarra and Teresa Castro

The fortieth anniversary of the independence of the African countries colonized by Portugal presents a valuable opportunity to reassess how colonialism has been «imagined» through the medium of the moving image. The essays collected in this volume investigate Portuguese colonialism and its filmic and audio-visual imaginaries both during and after the Estado Novo regime, examining political propaganda films shot during the liberation wars and exploring the questions and debates these generate. The book also highlights common aspects in the emergence of a national cinema in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. By reanimating (and decolonizing) the archive, it represents an important contribution to Portuguese colonial history, as well as to the history of cinema and the visual arts.

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9 A Decolonizing Impulse: Artists in the Colonial and Post-Colonial Archive, Or the Boxes of Departing Settlers between Maputo, Luanda and Lisbon (Ana Balona de Oliveira)


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9    A Decolonizing Impulse: Artists in the Colonial and Post-Colonial Archive, Or the Boxes of Departing Settlers between Maputo, Luanda and Lisbon1

Contemporary artistic practices have been working towards an epistemic and ethico-political decolonization of the present by means of critical examinations of several kinds of colonial and post-colonial archives: from the collective to the individual, public to private, filmic to photographic, literary to architectural; from written to oral history and memory; from immaterial to material culture. This chapter will examine the extent to which the aesthetics of sculptural, video, photographic and performative practices puts forth a politics and ethics of history and memory relevant to thinking critically about the colonial amnesias and imperial nostalgias that pervade a post-colonial condition marked by neo-colonial patterns of globalization and by uneasy relationships with diasporic and migrant communities in Lusophone contexts (and beyond). With three artworks by Ângela Ferreira (b. Maputo, 1958), Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. Luanda, 1979) and Euridice Kala (b. Maputo, 1987) as case studies, attention will be paid to specific historical events and geopolitical contexts: the Portuguese dictatorial regime Estado Novo and the colonial empire; the liberation wars/the ‘Colonial War’ fought in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau ← 185 | 186 → between 1961 and 1974; the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974;2 the independence of Portugal’s former colonies between 1973 and 1975; the mass ‘return’ of Portuguese settlers from Angola and Mozambique in 1975; apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa; colonial...

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