Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady, 2014

Basel 2019
Goodman Gallery
Digital video; 12’
Housed in an edifice of large wooden shipping crates, Kiluanji Kia Henda’s video installation Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady (2014) references modern architecture in Luanda and the mass exodus of Portuguese and white Angolan citizens after Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975. Inspired by Ryszard Kapuściński’s book Another Day of Life (1976), which documented the last days of colonialism in Luanda, the film includes images of key modern sites, terraces, buildings, streets, and avenues that are uninhabited with a narrator recounting his personal experience, and the painful decision to leave the city he was born in and lived in his entire life. In preparing his box for shipment, the narrator is confronted by platonic love for a woman: the impossibility of ‘boxing affections’ torments him and undermines his plans to escape. The crate structure references modern architectural facades, which are common to buildings in Luanda realized during the colonial era. The installation is also based on the scenario caused by the exodus, when thousands of boxes with personal belongings were sent from Angola to Portugal by those who were trying to escape the chaos that ensued in this proxy battleground for the Cold War powers.