I was born and raised in Angola, a country located in southwest Africa. During my early years, I had the opportunity to learn and study two essentials perspectives of my diverse cultural background which are now unfolding in creative activity.
In Angola, story telling was instrumental for spending quality time with family and conveying important lessons to the youth regarding experiences in their daily lives. Although, I was taught the basic technique of painting and design at school, I acquired my craft skills by listening to my grandfather and uncles. Also, I learned to add materials to my work as a way to communicate the many interpretations foreseen in the Angolan traditional and contemporary culture, such as magic, slavery, war foreign movies, death, Russian cartoon, hunger, Cuban revolution imitators, disease and Christmas. The continuing phase of my education occurred on American soil. When I arrived in America ten years ago, I was fascinated with its diverse culture. I learned about the history and the events that contributed to its developments, especially those referring to my African American heritage. However, on several occasions many of my associates have conveyed certain misconceptions and stereotypes about both Africa and African Americans.
In my artwork, I meticulously combined both art forms that I learned in Angola and in America to convey the issues of stereotypes, myths, ethnicity and politics. My experiences of being a witness to these misconceptions and the harsh life that the country had to go through to survive, first financially by selling misguided images of their ethnic background to tourists and at the same time suffered tremendously due to the endless civil war between two political parties, was represented on the union of paintings in one setting on the wall. I used sand, beads, yarn and glitter to captured the traditional art form used in Angolan art. The implementation of palpable objects in the art work enhances the image to be more engaging with the viewer to a point of mysticism rather then being another object for viewing pleasure.
Due to my studies in both countries, I had the chance to share my knowledge and experiences with the public about being raised in a very dynamic and culturally rich country, filled with unexplored territories and history, but threaten into extinction due to the rapid expansion of American and European influences and economical exploitation. However by mutual exchange of knowledge and expression, I was enriched by these differences of opinions about the world, and I believe by exchanging ideas and information the misconception of Americans about Africa and vice versa may change into knowledge.