Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary African Art


António Ole
B. 1951
mixed media
208 by 118 by 55cm., 82 by 46½ by 21¾in.
Executed in 2016
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Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Born in Luanda, Angola in 1951 António Ole has come to be known as one of Angola’s most recognized artists. Since beginning his career in the 1970s, Ole has created a broad repertoire of work consisting of photography, painting, large-scale installation and documentary film.

After completing his studies in African American culture and cinema at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the American Film Institute, he went on to achieve international acclaim, debuting in 1984 at the African-American Art Museum in Los Angeles. Ole has since exhibited at many museums worldwide, including the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. The artist has participated in several notable traveling exhibitions, such as Africa Remix, Contemporary Art of a Continent and The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945-1994. Ole now lives and works in Luanda.

The concept of the documentation of a journey has come to be a unifying factor amongst most of Ole’s work. Throughout his career, he has drawn upon the burgeoning city of Luanda as his primary source of inspiration. Famous as a chronicler of the history of the African capital, much of Ole’s work touches on themes of colonial rule, Angola’s violent civil war and the immense physical and emotional destruction left in its wake. The artist uses found and distressed objects, not only as representations of Luanda’s troubled journey since independence, but also to highlight how he feels about the current state of Luanda as the city pulls itself up from the ravages of war, attempting to preserve its architectural history in the midst of rampant modernization.

This present work encapsulates many of the themes that Ole likes to explore. Created using a variety of found material, Memória is a highly sophisticated work that is reflective of Ole’s great interest in this war-torn city and the people that call it home. António Ole will return to the Venice Biennale in 2017, exhibiting his works in this year’s Angolan Pavilion. Ole's work, found in many private collections around the world, was also included in David Bowie's private collection, which was sold by Sotheby's in November 2016.

Modern and Contemporary African Art