Goodman Gallery presents two bodies of work by Kiluanji Kia Henda in dialogue for the first time. The dual presentation of Concrete Affection - Zopo Lady and Divinum Tormentum (The Divine Ordeal) reflects on the history of Angola through a critique of structures of power that continue colonial legacies. They also share a feeling of emptiness and exploration collective memory through engagement with landscapes and public structures.
Inspired by the first chapter of the book by Polish journalist and writer Rychard Kapuscinsky, Another Day of Life - Angola 1975, the short-film Concrete Affection - Zopo Lady (2014) draws a portrait of the modern architecture of Angolan capital Luanda. Its central reference is the important historical period when the city was completely abandoned by thousands of inhabitants (mainly Portuguese and white Angolans), as a consequence of Angolan independence in 1975, followed by a long-term civil war. With images from terraces and interiors of buildings, streets and avenues, the action unfolds in a completely uninhabited city, where the narrator tells his story about the painful decision to leave the city where he lived his whole life.
The series of photographs Divinum Tormentum (The Divine Ordeal) document the Neves Bendinha Orthopaedic Centre and the Santa Ana Catholic church. The artist explains; “On the street where I grew up in Luanda, there was a school, a cinema, a police station, and a Catholic church next to an Orthopaedic centre – each of which played a part in the colonial strategy. I decided to focus on the Catholic church and the Orthopaedic centre to think through Western influences in Angola’s history and its devastating conflict.” Devoid of human beings and with no signifiers of time, the images capture an enduring melancholy and restlessness. Both the Orthopaedic centre and the church are a reflection of sites of hope for many Angolans who experienced the effects of war.
Goodman Gallery is an international contemporary art gallery with locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London. The gallery represents artists whose work confronts entrenched power structures and inspires social change. Goodman Gallery has held the reputation as a pre-eminent art gallery on the African continent since 1966. It has been pivotal in shaping contemporary South African art, bringing Lisa Brice, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa and Sue Williamson to the world’s attention for the first time during the apartheid era. Since Liza Essers became owner and director in 2008, the gallery roster has grown by more than 30 international artists, with a focus on women from the African Diaspora and beyond. Goodman Gallery has a global programme working with prominent and emerging international artists whose work engages in a dialogue with African and post-colonial contexts. Some of these artists include Ghada Amer, El Anatsui, Candice Breitz, Alfredo Jaar, Grada Kilomba, Kapwani Kiwanga, Shirin Neshat, Ernesto Neto, Tabita Rezaire, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Mikhael Subotzky and Hank Willis Thomas.