Focus Project: ResiliArt Angola
ResiliArt Angola was launched by the American Schools of Angola (ASA) in April 2021, under the umbrella of The Biennale of Luanda – Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace and as part of UNESCO ResiliArt global movement.
Soon after its inception, the focus of ResiliArt Angola shifted from discussing how to support artists and creativity beyond the crisis COVID-19 to finding concrete avenues to provide young artists with opportunities to enhance their skills and to obtain an income.
The idea of mixing young Angolan and international artists and creating residencies led by well-known artists, as pointed out by Marcos Agostinho, Executive Director of ASA, is the result of a simple observation: African and specifically local artists in Angola now need more support than ever.
In April 2021, on the occasion of the celebration of UNESCO International Jazz Day, 9 unknown plastic artists (8 Angolans and 1 UNHCR refugee) and 5 emerging musicians were commissioned to exhibit their work. Shortly thereafter, what began as a one-off event, became a training programme that included workshops, artistic residencies, cultural exchanges and exhibitions benefiting 30 unknown emerging plastic artists and the musicians.
These innovative residencies allowed artists to learn first-hand from established artists, to improve their skills and to gain visibility. The residencies also offered emerging young artists the necessary “social interaction, intellectual growth and education” for them to blossom and thrive.
ResiliArt Angola tale does not stop here. Building its success, the American Schools of Angola has moved on to the next step: looking beyond “the Big Pond” and linking African and diaspora artists through a partnership with the city of Newark in New Jersey, USA.
The city of Newark has now committed to hosting 10 Angolan artists (5 in visual arts and 5 musicians) who will perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and to showcase their work at the National Museum of Newark. In exchange, in just few months, Luanda will welcome 10 American young artists who will perform and exhibit their works at the International Jazz Day, taking place on 29-30 April & 1 May 2022.
The dream is now for the ResiliArt Angola model to be repeated on a yearly basis and to expand to other African countries in the PALOP (Portuguese-speaking African countries) and Central Africa.