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O Festim [the Feast]

Soraya Vasconcelos







Lusófona University, Portugal

This visual investigation begins with an image from the photographic album of a border delimitation mission on the Angolan/Congolese frontier. The image shows a lunch at the Portuguese camp on October 5, 1914. At the table are six white men, three commanding officers from each colonial power, Portugal and Belgium. Standing at the back of the improvised dining room, is a black servant. His head, merged into the background, is invisible. Using the original glass negative, Vasconcelos retrieved the man’s features. The image was printed, cut up and reworked through collage, drawing and photography, resulting in a short animation and a web-based experiment, Daemonicycles, that shows part of the research material. The work reflects upon the enduring fantoms of history and colonialism, reconsidering power dynamics, cosmology and culture.

The work results from her activity as artist and researcher for the academic project The Photographic Impulse: Measuring the Colonies and the Colonial Bodies – The Photographic and Filmic Archive of the Portuguese Geographic and Anthropologic Missions

Soraya Vasconcelos is a visual artist, teacher and researcher. She holds a PhD in Arts (2014, U.Algarve), and was full-time researcher (2019-2022) for Photo Impulse (ICNOVA), a project focused on a critical, decolonial analysis of the photographic and film archives produced in the context of portuguese colonial science. She co-curated the project’s final exhibition O Impulso Fotográfico: (des)arrumar o arquivo colonial at Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência (2021-2023). Her art practice includes photography, drawing, book and printmaking.

She is a faculty member at Universidade Lusófona School of Communication, Architecture, Arts and Information Technologies (ECATI) and researcher at Center for Other Worlds (COW).