Grada Kilomba

Learn about the artist's universe through a text accompanied by a selection of works from the exhibition “All I want – Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020”

By Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

Grada Kilomba’s work encompasses post-colonial studies, gender studies, theatre and literature.  Her work fuses artistic and academic languages, making indiscriminate use of diverse media, such as texts, books, photography, video, installation, staging, music and lecture-performance. “I have no interest in working in a single discipline; I’m interested in telling stories,” she says.

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

A World of Illusions, 2017-2019
6-channel video installation, HD, colour, sound, triangular sculptural installation, composed by the trilogy Illusions Vol. I, Narcissus and Echo (2017), Illusions Vol. II, Oedipus (2018), Illusions Vol. III, Antigone (2019); Scenographic idea: Grada Kilomba, Moses Leo; Scenographic design: Shahrzad Rahmini; Ed. 5
Variable dimensions
Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

A World of Illusions A World of Illusions (2017/2019) by Grada KilombaOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

She is a word artist, drawing upon her roots in Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe and harnessing contemporary and ancestral black oral traditions everywhere from Africa to its diasporas to tell stories of slavery, colonialism and everyday racism. By playing out change in her main characters and customary narrators, she puts the voices and bodies of those who are customarily silent at the centre of the discourse.

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

Her voice transports us to digital and futuristic scenarios, featuring graphic art in a minimalist style against a black or white background, with tightly orchestrated lighting, sound, text and composition, and where black actors and the artist herself move around the scenes, talking.

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

By staging foundational texts such as the myths of Narcissus and Echo, telling the story of Anastacia, a slave woman, or reading from her book Memórias de Plantação [Plantation Memories], Kilomba exposes the importance of raising awareness and deconstructing racism, and the steps that need to be taken as part of that process: “denial, guilt, shame, recognition and reparation”.

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

A World of IllusionsOriginal Source: Courtesy of the Artist and Goodman Gallery

Credits: Story

Selection of works presented at the exhibition All I want: Portuguese women artists from 1900 to 2020, in its first moment at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, within the scope of the cultural program that takes place in parallel to the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021.

Exhibition organized by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in co-production with the Center of Contemporary Creation Olivier Debré, Tours, and with the collaboration of the Plano Nacional das Artes (Portugal).

Curators:
Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand


Text by Lígia Afonso / Plano Nacional das Artes
Selection of online resources Maria de Brito Matias


Learn more about Grada Kilomba's works presented in the context of this exhibition:
All I want: Collective Memories

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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