Kalunga Project Memory

Curatorship: Mauricio Barros de Castro
It was the year of 1980, and a group of 65 people – including artists, producers and technicians – led by singer/composer Chico Buarque and by producer Fernando Faro, left from Rio de Janeiro to Angola, a country then under a civil war, to do three concerts in three cities: Luanda, Benguela and Lobito. This mission, conducted under the invitation of the then Angolan president and poet Agostinho Neto, became known as the Kalunga Project – an event that demonstrates an intense political and musical dialogue between Brazil and Angola, which had become independent only five years prior, in 1975.
If we take a look at the list of artists that were a part of this mission – which included Dorival Caymmi, Martinho da Vila, Djavan, Clara Nunes, Dona Ivone Lara, Edu Lobo, Francis and Olivia Hime, João do Vale and João Nogueira, among many others –, we can say, with no fear of exaggeration, that Fernando Faro and Chico Buarque managed to take to Angola a group that was rarely gathered even in Brazil. The last presentation – back to Luanda after having been to Benguela and Lobito – took place at Plaza de Toros. Angolan composers Felipe Mukenga, Rui Mingas and Valdemar Bastos participated in the concert, singing with the Brazilian musicians.
The intention of the Kalunga Project Memory exhibition is to remember this significant cultural and political event – that has been forgotten and silenced in Brazil –, by means of newsprints, videos, interviews, music and photos. Since this exhibition is the preliminary product of a research that should continue until 2015, its contents will be expanded over the planned period.
The digital environment is suitable for such proposals because of its dynamic capacity to assimilate new contents, being in a state of permanent construction. A dialogue with the Web is also present in the content of the exhibition, partly made up of material obtained from the Internet.
Finally, the Kalunga Project Memory also intends to bring back one of the goals of the African mission: to (once again) bring Brazil close to its historical and cultural ties with Africa.