On 11 August 2023, the Africell Impact Foundation hosted a networking event and pop-up exhibition for artists and galleries in Luanda, Angola’s buzzing capital, and the heart of the southern African country’s energetic contemporary art scene.
Taking place at Verd, a stylish venue in Luanda’s trendy Cruzeiro neighbourhood, the event saw three galleries team up to create a uniquely collaborative forum for the display and discussion of new and boundary-pushing Angolan art. By working together, the galleries (Ela-Espaco, This is not a White Cube, and Movart) broke new ground in Angola, which has previously seen limited partnership or exchange between competing commercial galleries.
Artists invited to the event were also invited to display art in the space, and the resulting one-off exhibition – with work from cutting-edge artists including Tho Simoes, Nelo Texeira, Francisco Vidal, Cristiano Mangovo, Pedro Pires, René Tavares, Benigno N’sito, Sozinho Lopez, and Manuel Ventura – revealed Angola’s electrifyingly imaginative spirit in a vivid, immediate atmosphere.
Through the Africell Impact Foundation, Africell (Angola’s newest mobile network operator) invests in initiatives related to contemporary arts, culture and heritage. The foundation supports African artists, galleries and designers by linking them to the digital and physical resources they need to gain exposure and make an impact both locally and internationally. Recent Africell Impact Initiatives include a major sponsorship of the DRC Pavilion at the 2023 London Design Biennale and the launch of a pan-African artist residency programme, Africell x Angola AIR. The Africell Impact Foundation also manages Africell’s growing private collection of sub-Saharan African contemporary artworks.
Marise Aoun, manager of the Africell Impact Foundation, explains that it is important for emerging and established arts to have opportunities for professional and social interaction.
“Whenever we work with artists, they tell us that they value ideas, travel, and exchange as a core part of their artistic and creative method”, she says. “Africell has a history of convening artists, designers and other talented people. With the deepening presence of the Africell Impact Foundation in Angola, this event gave us a fantastic opportunity to introduce some of Angola’s best contemporary artists to each other and to provide a valuable spark for new concepts and projects”.
In addition to artists, curators and gallerists, the event was attended by officials from the US and UK embassies and the Angolan government.