1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair announces that Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda, represented by Goodman Gallery, has been selected for the 2019 edition of the 1-54 Courtyard Sculpture Commission, presenting The Fortress. This commission, supported by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation (KLF), allows artists from the African continent and its diaspora to produce and exhibit a large-scale sculpture in the majestic backdrop of Somerset House’s Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court.
The Fortress forms part of the series A City Called Mirage and serves as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of human constructions. The series is inspired by processes of erosion and transience that Kia Henda witnessed in the Angolan desert, culminating in an imaginary cityscape in which the artist investigates the idea of cities oscillating between the states of virtuality and desertification. Kia Henda uses science, mythological fiction and irony as ways to transcend the pessimism of hyper-criticism and the aesthetics of the ruin.
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his practice, often homing in on themes of identity, politics and perceptions of postcolonialism and modernism in Africa. Practicing in the fields of photography, video, and performance, Kia Henda has tied his multidisciplinary approach to a sharp sense of criticality. His conceptual edge has been sharpened by immersing himself in music, avantgarde theatre, and collaborating with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. In complicity with historical legacy, Kia Henda recognises processes of appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory.
Kia Henda recently completed a three-month residency at Luma Arles, France. He was the recipient of the 2018 Frieze Artist Award and in 2012 the recipient of the National Prize for Art and Culture, awarded by the Minister of Culture in Angola. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar, São Paulo and Gwangju, as well as international travelling exhibitions: Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists.
Significant solo exhibitions include The Island of Venus at HANGAR Centro de Investigação Artística, Lisbon, Portugal, 2018; A City Called Mirage, International Studio and Curatorial Practice (ISCP), New York, 2017; and New Man – Homem Novo, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria, 2013; Self Portrait as a White Man, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, 2010.
Kia Henda’s work is held in major public collections including Tate Modern, London; Fondazione di Venezia, Venice; Metropolitana di Napoli, Public collection, Napoli; Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Kadist Foundation, Paris/San Francisco; Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami
The artist currently lives and works in Luanda, Angola.
Kia Henda is represented by Goodman Gallery, a pre-eminent gallery on the African continent with a new space opening on Cork Street in London on 3 October 2019.
This major sculptural commission supported by Kamel Lazaar Foundation marks Kiluanji Kia Henda’s first major public artwork in the UK.