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Filipe Branquinho’s exhibition ‘The Scandal’ captures and explores social issues related to the contemporary reality of Mozambique, investigating its folkways, mythology, and urban dynamics

Filipe Branquinho, A frota (The fleet), 2020. Courtesy of the artist & AKKA Project.
Filipe Branquinho, A frota (The fleet), 2020. Courtesy of the artist & AKKA Project.

Filipe is a multi-talented artist who studied architecture and follows a dual career as a photographer and illustrator. He began to create works that connect tradition and contemporality that toy the viewer by adding a unique touch of humour, thereby creating incredibly powerful and meaningful contrasts.

Filipe uses Mapiko masks of the Maconde tradition. Associating drawing and photography with a strong sense of satire he reflects on aspects and values of contemporary national affairs. Traditionally these Mapiko masks function as caricatures of characters of a magical or imaginary world or, actually known characters from the community or region.

Installation shot of ‘The Scandal’ at AKKA Project, Dubai. Courtesy of AKKA Project.
Installation shot of 'The Scandal' at AKKA Project, Dubai. Courtesy of AKKA Project.
Installation shot of ‘The Scandal’ at AKKA Project, Dubai. Courtesy of AKKA Project.

The works depict and reflect overarching themes of global greed and malaise, and as an exhibition, it lays bare the socio-political void of Mozambique.

Filipe drew inspiration from the 2.7 billion dollar scandal circling the “tuna bond” debt crisis in Mozambique that brought major international attention to the crisis. The artworks depicting the sea and fish are a startling narration of how a tuna fishing fleet sunk Mozambique’s economy and rocked the country. The money which the government borrowed to set up a sophisticated tuna industry was allegedly diverted to corrupt officials. “Back in Mozambique, 19 individuals, including the son of former President Armando Guebuza, have gone on trial”. The artwork series “From the School of Thieves” signifies a “school of burglar fishes” and symbolises the individuals’ actions when taking bribes. The message evokes the social behaviour of the parties involved in how they follow each other blindly and coordinate in synchronisation. “Since the crisis, Mozambique saw its currency lose a third of its value throughout 2016, the year it defaulted.”

Lipiko reveals the creative process and work of Mozambican artist Filipe Branquinho. It sheds light on the artist’s latest series, The Scandal; the video includes works such as The Court Trail presented at La Biennale di Venezia Arte in 2019, In Gold We Trust (2020), Atum (Tuna) (2018), and A Frota (The Fleet) (2020). The film touches on Mozambique’s debt crisis scheme and expands on the artistic connection between each piece. 

Filipe Branquinho, Atum (The Tuna), 2018. Courtesy of the artist & AKKA Project.
Filipe Branquinho, Atum (The Tuna), 2018. Courtesy of the artist & AKKA Project.

“Filipe’s work is very deep; it digs into the heart of the Mozambican culture, politics, way of life, and the country’s natural beauty, costumes, corruption, and its monstrosities. During the film’s production in Milan, we worked to present the creative message behind Filipe’s work and the message he wishes to relay to the world regarding the contemporary issues of his country.” said Lidija Khachatourian, the gallery’s co-founder.  

About AKKA Project Venice / Dubai
AKKA (A Kostic Khachatourian Art) Project is a commercial gallery and project space that represents and supports artists from the African continent and its diaspora, increasing opportunities for artists to introduce their work to new geographies. On the Dubai Art Season occasion, AKKA Project is proud to present the latest exhibition ‘The Scandal’ by Filipe Branquinho.

The exhibition will be on view from the 5th of March until the 30th of April 2022. For more information, please visit AKKA Project.https://akkaproject.com/

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