Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy
Autograph presents a new exhibition contemplating the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives, relationships to the land and colonial pasts.
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Angolan-Portuguese artist Monica De Miranda’s research-led practice is grounded in postcolonial politics in relation to Africa and its diaspora. Her most recent project The Island contemplates the complex experiences of Afrodiasporic lives and Europe’s colonial past. Fusing fact and fiction, The Island explores a long trajectory of black presences in Portugal by bringing together intertwined narratives – drawing on African liberation movements, migratory experiences, and identity formations through a black feminist lens.
Using film and photography, De Miranda deploys the metaphor of the island as a utopian place of isolation, refuge, and escape: a space for collective imaginings that speak to new and old freedoms. Anchored in cultural affinities and ecofeminism, the artist considers soil as an organic repository of time and memory, where ancestral and ecological trauma linked to colonial excavations continue to unfold.
The Island urges us to develop a more conscious relationship between our bodies, the past and the lands we inhabit – and all that they hold – towards regenerative possible futures.
The exhibition features two new Autograph artist commissions seen for the first time: a 37-minute film work The Island, and an associated series of photographs from Autograph’s project Amplify – Stranger in the Village: Afro European Matters, supported by the Art Fund.
About the artist
Mónica de Miranda is an Angolan-Portuguese visual artist, filmmaker and researcher who works and lives between Lisbon and Luanda. Her work – which incorporates photography, video, drawing, sculpture and installation – investigates postcolonial politics of geography, history, and subjectivity in relation to Africa and its diaspora through a critical spatial arts practice. Often conceptual and research-based, De Miranda is interested in the convergence of socio-political narratives, gender, and memory at the boundaries between fiction and documentary.
De Miranda is affiliated with the University of Lisbon where she is engaged on projects dealing with ethical and cultural aspects of contemporary migration movements linked to lusophone Africa, such as Post-Archive: Politics of Memory, Place and Identity, and Visual Culture, Migration, Globalization and Decolonization. She holds post and undergraduate degrees in art and arts education from Camberwell College of Arts and the Institute of Education in London, and a doctorate in Visual Art from the University of Middlesex. De Miranda is a co-founder of the artist residency project Triangle Network in Portugal and in 2014, she founded Hangar – Center for Artistic Research in Lisbon.
Her works have been exhibited internationally, including at the 12th Berlin Biennale (2022); Bienalsur – International Contemporary Art Biennial from the South (2020); Houston FotoFest Biennial (2020); Lubumbashi Biennale (2020); Dakar Biennale (2016); Bamako Encounters African Biennale of Photography (2016); and the 14th Architecture Biennale of Venice (2014) as well as in museums and galleries such as the Pera Museum in Istanbul (2017) and Caixa Cultural in Rio de Janeiro (2017). Her work is represented in public collections including The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Lisbon, Portugal.
Mónica de Miranda: The Island, exhibition at Autograph, 24 June - 22 October, 2022. Curated by Renée Mussai and Mark Sealy. Photograph by Kate Elliot