Poetry

poems painted on the walls by local artist Calunamba (CalunambaArt), featuring a new generation of Angolan poets who write about passages, their own and their country’s, looking deeply at the world as they find it, including young poets from Tombwa, Sabino Mbuta Calvia (Pensador Mbuta) and António Sebastião York Caunda (Poeta Lágrimas De Arrependimento), whose work combines a deep sonorous lyricism with bold rhythms.

Receptive Ecology

 

Divination is one of the African practices that both colonization and extractive capitalist imperialism have ceaselessly sought to undermine and violently eradicated. It’s a tradition that foregrounds a receptive and responsive instead of exploitative attitude to the environment and thus one that develops its initiates intuitive capacity to read and interpret signs in one’s surroundings; to sense whether the forest, the sea, the desert, the mountains or the valleys are in equilibrium, whether the trees are flourishing, and the animals thrive.

Divination Basket

Visiting anthropologist Koenraad Stroeken in consultation (by phone) with his mentor Malamala of the Chwezi cult of spirit mediums from Tanzania, created a ‘sample’ of a divinaton oracle in one of the smaller rooms that engaged Augusto Zita’s association of the house with a nkizi, a religious object whose purpose is to communicate with the ancestors’ world, meeting the challenge of ecological transition wih indigenous cosmology.

N’Tumbo

Forest in the Desert

 

In his research Zita recognizes plants as actors in history and witnesses that can testify to colonial extractivism and environmental destruction. Working from his field notes we hope to develop new strategies to produce conditions for listening to new kinds of testimony that provide a widening of the understanding of the world and explore plants as agents of international entanglements and power relationships – indigenous flora renamed by an academic system that needs decolonizing, foreign seeds being imported, industrial agriculture, crop bioengineering etc. Zita notebooks contain numerous drawings of the n’tumbo, a tree plant whose “longue durée” of more than a thousand years allows us to interpret crises as opportunities for fundamental structural change.
 
Dubbed “welwitschia mirabilis” after the Austrian botanical explorer, Friedrich Welwitsch, who claimed to have discovered it, this ancient tree has evolved a slow life cycle adapted to the harshest, most barren desert of Namibe. Blurring the categorization between plant and tree, it uses the wind to split its leaves into a myriad of tendril that grow continuously along the ground above a subterranean woody trunk with a taproot system that extends deep into the earth. Zita’s notes provoke us to ask: how can we tap the ancient knowledge of this plant to survive and thrive amidst widespread ecological destruction?

Inscription/Tatoo

Zita interpreted the various man-made interventions in the area, such as excavations by heavy machinery, as human ‘inscriptions’ written in a foreign tongue by the colonial “utopian” dream to subjugate nature. He envisaged using satellite images, together with local forms of cartography that embrace walking as a method, to read these inscriptions alongside the deep history engraved into the sand, the rocks, the land that attend to the ancient and future memories tracing the pathways of animals, matter, people, and plants across ancestral and current systems of migration, seasonal displacement and transhumance in the region and resonating landscapes.

A PangeiArt project in the
Namibe desert in the south
west coast of Angola.

www.pangeiart.org

Find us at

Rua do Massangano,
Edifício Anangola,
Luanda
Angola

Contact us at

Loods 6
KNSM-laan 155
1019 LC
Amsterdam

pangeiart@gmail.com

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