Gaining independence in 1975 after nearly 500 years of occupation, Angola was catapulted into a conflict between three rival nationalist liberation groups that had fought for decolonialization from Portugal. Quickly becoming the battleground for the pervasive power struggle between the Soviet Union, the US, and their allies—with each faction considering their preferred outcome of the civil war crucial for the global balance of power—Angola suffered the physical burns of a war termed cold in our history books. HKW, historically established on the border between the first and second worlds to house representations of the third, offers a challenging and complicated stage for Luanda-based artist Nástio Mosquito
. With large projections of imagery taken from archived Africa-themed exhibitions at HKW in the background, Mosquito sings and rants at us with his rebellious candor while forcing us to watch him in the context of our ambiguous desire for representation and identity politics. Mixing nearly inaudible accusations of colonial automatisms with the seductive flattery of being allowed to listen to his vulnerable lyrical confessions on life and love, Mosquito’s performances unfold as a game of attraction and assault, where salvation is offered and then stolen in jest. The cacophony of destruction and sensual playfulness enchants us into doubting what we have actually left behind as we move into a new era.