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Privacy & Cookies Policy
The tongues.cc website is operated by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (‘TONGUES’).
This privacy policy applies to TONGUES.
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TONGUES may change this policy from time to time by updating this page and you should regularly check to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy was last updated on 11 February 2020.
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1. General principle
2. How we collect information
3. Types of information we may collect
4. How we use your information
5. How we protect the information we collect
6. Access to your personal information
7. How to contact us
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If you have any questions about our privacy policy or our use of your information, please contact us at [email protected].

Paula Nascimento

August 15 / 2022


Paula Nascimento is an architect and independent curator based in Luanda, Angola.


Q >Could you tell us a bit about yourself and the themes you pursue?

A >I am an architect and curator who lives and works between Luanda and the rest of the world. Despite travelling a lot, being based in Luanda is quite important as it is the space of inspiration; it is also from here that the conceptual framework of my practice is constructed. In other words, it is my centre. My interests lay in the status and nature of contemporary African and postcolonial cities, using Luanda as a starting point, to think about issues related to urbanism and (public) space.

Q >Coming from a background in Architecture, were there key moments that led to the transition into curation? How do these disciplines overlap in your current practice?

A >I can’t say that there was a key moment — it all happened very organically. I started working with a university colleague on what, at the time, was an expanded field of architecture and developing research projects. We created the collective Beyond Entropy, which is now on sabbatical, and the aim was to engage themes and issues that would affect architectural practice. Also, returning to Luanda after living and studying abroad for a long time, kind of propelled me to start thinking about space and to find ways to intervene in such a complex city. From that, we started some speculative projects and through this collaboration, developing research that could be shown in a variety of forms. The shift to curating happened within this process, we did books, installations and curated some shows. There was no plan.

Obviously as work increased, I started to shift to more curatorial projects, [rather] than working in architecture (I think about architecture) but at the moment, I could say that I use curating as a spatial practice, and that often, even in projects where I am not thinking about it, spatial language and architecture concepts are an intrinsic part of any curatorial project.

Q >Can you tell us a bit about how you seek out creative talent and nurture relationships with artists?

A >It’s all been a process… obviously coming from architecture, a discipline in which collaboration is key, and having been a member of different collectives, I believe that it is essential to create alliances and long-term relationships. There are artists whose practice intersects themes I am interested in and because of that, I’ve worked continuously and cultivated long-term relationships.

Q >Tell us your thoughts on how you would like the art scene to evolve in Angola and ways to cultivate the talents of African artists across the continent.

A >We are going through an interesting phase as there is a growing number of artists and artistic proposals, [though] there are only a few residency programs and galleries, mainly concentrated in the capital, Luanda. The country is big and there is production everywhere; however, little access to networks and to information. Therefore, I would like to see more spaces of experimentation, more galleries and not just art events. We also, like many countries, don’t really have an effective cultural policy which I think is an essential aspect of creating an art ecosystem. Even more schools — we have one arts faculty and some technical schools, but also somehow isolated from the regional institutions and the discourses both in the region and in the continent. I really believe we need to establish strong foundations to allow all the interesting initiatives to be able to grow and strive and also new players to emerge.

Q >Could you tell us a little bit about your project ‘Are you for Real’? What were the main ideas behind the project and how did you go about conveying them through exhibitions, workshops, digital art spaces, and apps?

A >This is a project I was invited to create by Yvette Mutumba and Julia Grosse, as a commission from Ifa. The premise was to look critically at the way Ifa operates with touring exhibitions and think of and propose different ways of collaboration and co-creation. We started to think of it just before COVID-19 struck, and the initial idea was to work beyond geography and to think of a hybrid format – both a platform that would house commissioned art works but also have a physical aspect to it. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic we were limited to the digital iterations — however, some of the works have double life.

As a whole, the project is an ongoing web platform, designed by South Korean designer Yehwan Song that changes with time and with the addition of each new work. Almost as a palimpsest. We wanted to explore the digital as a space, beyond the idea of replicating traditional exhibition spaces with virtual technology, and we challenged some artists to take advantage of this. So there is an issue of language and thinking how those works exist in multiple dimensions. For example, the project of Nolan Oswald Dennis borrows the video game format and is both hosted in the platform but also existed through some digital performance on twitch; the work of Zheng Mahler “What is it like to be a (virtual) bat”, is being developed in phases and constantly being updated. There is another component that is a physical installation. 

The project also has a presence on Instagram — a page that is not a replica of the site but uses the Instagram format to expand on some of the issues related to the main topic or each individual project. We are now reaching the end of a curatorial cycle and the curatorial team (myself and the other curators) will hand over the platform and the curatorship of the project to another team who will establish its future direction.

Q >Tell us a bit about your exhibition, ‘Unfolding Urban Ambiguities: Prédio do Livro (Luanda)’, at the 2021 Venice Biennale, and what do you hope visitors took away from it?

A >This is a research project that was again commissioned for the architectural biennial — it is based on an ongoing research and interest on the modern legacy in the city of Luanda (and of some Portuguese-speaking African countries). The project looks at borders within the city — in this case a specific building — and raises questions about the future of spaces should these borders collapse and disappear — how from certain circumstances one can create (or not) spaces of conviviality and design for the commons.


Prédio do Livro. Luanda, 2020


Q >What other project(s) have you recently completed, or working on these days? What are your future plans?

A >At the moment, I am an associate curator at the VII Lubumbashi Biennial (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), happening in October this year. And we’re doing small projects that will run from this year and perhaps continue up to the next biennial. The Lubumbashi is a special biennial that is going through a process of also questioning what it means to make a biennial in this context, so is experimental, and is about real exchange and engagement with a specific context and reality. Other than that, I am also working on a project for the Lagos Biennial and on some publications.


Paula Nascimento (b. Luanda, 1981) is an architect and curator with degrees from the Architectural Association School of Architecture and the LSB University in London. She has collaborated with architecture studios in Oporto and London before funding with Stefano Pansera Beyond Entropy Africa in 2011 — a research-based collective network that operates in the fields of architecture-urbanism-visual arts and geopolitics. Paula has also been a consultant on various projects, including the Angola Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, and often collaborates with different artist institutions and collectives, both on the continent and abroad.
Between 2012 and 2020, she was a founding and active member of Colectivo Pés Descalços, a Luanda based multi-disciplinary collective developing projects in the cultural field. Since 2019 Paula has curated the African Galleries at Arco Lisbon. Currently, she is the chair of the artistic committee at NESR Art Foundation and an adviser at Hangar — Artistic Research Centre.


Images courtesy of © Paula Nascimento

Paula Nascimento. Photo by Raul Betti

Beyond Entropy Angola — Installation by Paula Nascimento and Stefano Rabolli-Pansera, 2012

Luanda Enciclopedic City — Exhibition view: artist Edson Chagas. Pallazo Cini, Venice, 2013

Rhizomes — Exhibition view: Ellipsis, artist César Schofield Cardoso. La Base Sousmarine, 2021

No longer with the memory but with its future — Exhibition view: artist Monica de Miranda. Oratorio di San Ludovico, 2022

Prédio do Livro. Luanda, 2020

Beyond Entropy Angola — Installation view: African Mobilities, 2018

Still from: a.sun black, work by Nolan O. Dennis. Integrated into the platform: Are You For Real, 2020