Artist: Ângela Ferreira
Exhibition title: Carlos Cardoso Directo ao assunto
Curated by: João Mourão, Luís Silva
Venue: Galería Pelaires, Mallorca, Spain
Date: September 21 – December 3, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Galería Pelaires
Pelaires Gallery is presenting the work of Ângela Ferreira (Maputo, Mozambique, 1958) for the first time ever on Majorca. The project is curated by João Mourão and Luís Silva, directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon.
Ângela Ferreira’s work deals with the ongoing impact of colonialism and post-colonialism on contemporary society, an investigation that is based on in-depth research and the distillation of ideas into concise and resonant forms. In Carlos Cardoso Directo ao assunto, Ferreira pays tribute to the life and work of slain Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso (1951-2000) and, in doing so, she highlights the importance of freedom of expression.
Like Ferreira, Cardoso was born in Mozambique while the nation was still under Portuguese colonial rule and studied in South Africa during the apartheid era. He began his career as a journalist in Mozambique in 1975, the year the country gained its independence from Portuguese rule. An intellectual who wrote poetry, painted and acted in radio plays, Cardoso was an active supporter of Frelimo, the former liberation movement. However, his political militancy and social criticism brought him at times into conflict with the ruling party. After the country’s 16-year civil war, which ended in 1992 with a peace agreement that provided for multi-party democracy, Cardoso and a group of fellow intellectuals founded an independent newspaper, MediaFAX – the first daily paper to use the fax machine (a medium that was both cheap and efficient) as a means for information dissemination. With Cardoso as chief editor, MediaFAX spearheaded investigative journalism in the country and played a vital role in exposing corruption in the government. Next Cardoso set up a daily paper, Metical, that used both the fax and email as a news source. Metical was also active in exposing corruption in the government and the commercial sectors. At the time of Cardoso’s murder on 20 November 2000, he was investigating dodgy dealings among Mozambican banks as well as real estate corruption. His assassination made Mozambique’s image as a model emerging democracy crumble and heralded the lowering of one of the regime’s most revered banners: that of freedom of the press.
This exhibition takes up the artist’s 2011 project in which Ferreira created a series of sculpture installations to pay tribute to the Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso and to the alternative and investigative journalism that he pioneered in his homeland. It features a group of sculptures and a photo print. MediaFax is the name of four of the sculptures that make reference to the fax machine and the publications that embodied Cardoso’s commitment to the dissemination of impartial and accurate information.
Another sculptural work, Cena Aberta, takes the form of a radio tower in aluminium with megaphones that transmit two radio pieces – still broadcast in Mozambique – in which Cardoso participated as an actor, his voice remaining a powerful instrument twenty years after his death.
The show also features a large photo print of the memorial to Cardoso, unveiled in 2010 on Avenida Mártires da Machava in Maputo, archival material relating to his writing and publishing, and also a print of an article on Cardoso in the Mail & Guardian which served as a catalyst for Ferreira in producing this body of work.