Presented by This Is Not A White Cube
ART AFRICA conducted various interviews with some of the artist that will be exhibiting at Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2018!
Januário Jano is an Angolan multi-disciplinary artist who explores the opposing notions of modern pop culture and traditional practises through painting, installation, video, sculpture and photography. This Is Not A White Cube exhibits a solo exhibition of Jano’s artwork within the Tomorrows/Today section at the Investec Cape Town Art fair (ICTAF) 2018 – a space reserved for leading names within the contemporary African Art scene.
Janiário Jano, Senhô 2 (S02), 2017. Inkjet-print on 100% cotton fine art paper rag, 67 x 52cm. Courtesy of the artist & This Is Not A White Cube.
ART AFRICA: You will be exhibiting a new body of work entitled Mponda at the ICTAF 2018, as well as presenting a live performance and a photographic installation titled Senhô – tell us more about these recent works?
Januário Jano: My work is a reflection of memory and identity. By trying to understand the past and present, I critically plunge into aspects of Angola’s recent history that is linked to the past – and more particularly into elements of Ambundu culture, originally from the region around Luanda. This process of historical research sets the base and the starting point of my work.
For the ICTAF, I will be showing a new body of work from the series ‘Mponda’ and photographic installation titled Senhô, these works are part of on my ongoing project which specifically focuses on building a link between a historical narrative of my cultural outset.
The body features as a prominent motif in many of your projects, what does this use of the body communicate for you?
The body plays a pivotal roll as the main motif and leads the way to link between the present and past to build up the historic narrative. In this case, it is fundamentally to explore existing references that aid to define the base and tone in order to construct a visual language – the result is a contextual aesthetic and iconographic vocabulary.
Januário Jano, Senhô 1 (S01), 2017. Inkjet-print on 100% cotton fine art paper rag, 67 x 52cm. Courtesy of the artist & This Is Not A White Cube.
Your 2017 solo exhibition, ‘Ambundulando’, makes reference to rituals from the Ambundo ethnic group, as well as practises from your family history. How did you navigate this cross-pollination between collective, historical and personal identity?
It’s an easy process, as I am talking about things very close to my own reality, simply by looking into my upbringing in search of my roots – and trying to understand the past in relation to the present. Ambundulando’s phonetic meaning suggests transitions – constant movement – with this in mind, I initiate a journey where I propose a reflection about memory and its transition and about my role in the construction of personal and collective identity.
You work in Luanda, London and Lisbon. Does each city affect and influence your work differently?
Yes, each city has its own specific feed to my practice, Luanda is the mother – it is central and has all I need to develop the narratives and to explore the physical, emotional and rational connection. London and Lisbon play a very important role too, they give me the speed to get things done and feed me with other elements that are crucial for my practice.
Januário Jano, MPONDA 005, 2018. Fabrics, sawing, collage, transfer, acrylic, buttons, 132 x 150cm. Courtesy of the artist & This Is Not A White Cube.
You won the 2016 ‘Business for Art’ Award at Art Laguna in Venice, Italy. How has winning this award impacted your career as an artist?
The award has given me extra tools to diversify and take my practice to different grounds – from that point, I collaborated with a fashion brand which opened new opportunities to develop new projects.
Januário Jano, MPONDA 003, 2018. Fabrics, sawing, collage, transfer, acrylic, buttons, 120 x 224cm. Courtesy of the artist & This Is Not A White Cube.