Fernando Alvim – Memorias Intimas Marcas

The aftermath of the civil war in Angola, which lasted for decades and was finally ended in 2002, was devastating: almost a third of the country’s population were refugees within their own country, many had little or no access to basic medical care and clean drinking water. Child soldiers and girls forced into marriage, landmines and a vast number of war-disabled people characterized this traumatized country. In 1997, after many years of preparation, the Angolan artist Fernando Alvim, accompanied by Carlos Garaicoa from Cuba, Gavin Younge from South Africa, a group of art historians and curators plus a television crew visited the battlefield near Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola where ten years previously the decisive battle of the war had raged between South African, Angolan, and Cuban troops. The works of art that were created during this twelve-day visit were exhibited first in the Portuguese Cultural Centre in Luanda, and then at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. It was in the course of the project Memorias Intimas Marcas that for the first time, Angolan and South African society began to engage with and come to terms with the war. For Alvim, it was the starting point for founding the Camouflage network, the magazine Coartnews, and the organization TACCA (Territorios de Arte e Cultura Contemporanea Africana), which in 2006 organized the first Triennial of Luanda.