A CUCA AJUDA A UPA, A NOCAL AJUDA PORTUGAL!
11 NOV TO 19 DEC 2015
The exhibition of Nuno Nunes Ferreira is entitled A CUCA AJUDA A UPA, A NOCAL AJUDA PORTUGAL!, a slogan that has political overtones and recovers the memory of the colonial war fought in the former Portuguese colonies, more specifically in Angola. The exhibition project reveals a powerful unity in the elements that comprise each of the works, due to their use as the source for the self-referential nature of his research.
The artist is referring here mainly to the period when his father fought in the Overseas War, and to the memories, objects, stories and silences that the latter transmitted to him once he had returned to civilian life. Cuca and Nocal (1) were the beers that people drank in their moments of rest and relaxation, still anxious times, but away from the actual fighting.
The overseas universe that the artist works upon, pursuing his practice as a methodical and compulsive archivist, opens up various fields of questioning about the memories of Africa, more precisely Angola. In his artistic practice, the artist collects documents and artefacts that are closely linked both to the liberation movements and to the demagogical propaganda of Salazar’s regime. These include publications that resisted events and contributed to the breakup of this regime, which affected our identity as a defunct empire and the identity of all those who, having been born in Portugal or the ex-colonies, arrived in Portugal as “retornados” (literally returnees, but people who also referred to themselves as the “dispossessed from the ex-colonies”). They were returning from a land that, while it belonged to everyone (all the citizens of the empire), did not, however, belong to those who had occupied and ruled it for several centuries.
Emanating from one of the works is a buzzing sound that is transformed into a military march: “Angola… É Nossa” (Angola… is ours). Words that are sung by men without their utopia, hostages from a time that did not know the meaning of Freedom, a concept that, still today, has not yet achieved its full legitimacy.
(1) Cuca was brewed by a company that was a subsidiary of the Portuguese Central de Cervejas, while Nocal was produced by the Angolan Nova Empresa de Cervejas.