René Tavares is performing solo for the first time in the UK

René Tavares is performing solo for the first time in the UK

Santomian artist René Tavares is to present his first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom. Under the enigmatic title “Portraits for English”, translated into Portuguese it means “English for watching”. Paula Nascimento, a renowned Angolan architect and curator. The event will be held in Africa Center in London will present six new works by René Tavares, emerging from the artist’s most recent and unique series of paintings, which promises a deep dive into the intersections between archival photography and pictorial expression.

The exhibition’s provocative title recalls an ancient Portuguese linguistic expression, “para inglese ver”, skillfully used by the artist to explore the historical and sociopolitical issues that have shaped the identity processes of many African countries.

In addition to the six paintings on display at the exhibition, the installation “Piá mú” previously presented at MAAT will also be highlighted. The exhibition is the Portuguese-Angola Gallery, not the white cube that represents the artist, but the African Center in London.

René Tavares plays an important role in the art scene of São Tomé and Príncipe as a key figure in Portuguese-speaking contemporary art. Its visibility has grown in recent years both on the African continent and internationally.

Recently, he was a finalist in the last edition of the Fundaçção EDP New Artists Award. At MAAT, he presented the collective installation “Estado Novo do Atlantico,” which, like many of his works, reflects his own experience of migration and resettlement in a post-colonial context. The three pieces that make up the installation – “Karugem Lusa”, “Pia Mu, Olha Para Mim” and “Wash Station” – reflect the colonial past, present and post-colonial future.

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As part of the exhibition, on October 13 at 7pm, the Africa Center will host a conversation with the artist on the topic “Unfinished Histories”. The event offers a unique opportunity to meet René Tavares, explore the fundamental elements of his artistic practice, and interact with two influential curatorial and cultural voices working in Africa and the diaspora: Paula Nascimento, curator and independent curator, British academic and researcher Paul Goodwin, who will act as moderator.

The exhibition is open to the public till October 29 and admission is free.

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