Sharjah Art Foundation

March Meeting 2023: The Postcolonial Constellation: Art, Culture, Politics after 1960

9 March — 12 March, 2023

Resetting Birds’ Memories (2021)

Resetting Birds’ Memories, 2021. Performance; 40 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Jahmek - Contemporary, Luanda


Artist and filmmaker Kiluanji Kia Henda uses text and images to probe the ‘sore spots’ in history. He does not shy away from confronting traumas; he looks them in the eye and shares them through his visual narratives.

Resetting Birds’ Memories tells the story of Kinaxixi Square in the centre of Luanda, which comes to life through the performances of actresses Kimberley Agyarko and Sahar Ali. The square symbolises the violent past and the glorification of ideology by successive rulers, who placed monuments to themselves there. Kia Henda reveals the relationship between precolonial Angola and the present-day nostalgic view of that era. Although the performance has a political layer, it is not a literal illustration of this history. Rather, the poetry of this work invites audiences to reflect on a world of perpetual changes, which are often represented through monuments in public spaces.

Kia Henda’s first narrative musical performance immerses viewers in a shadow play. The interaction between spotlights and video projection, between living persons and static objects, evokes a story that hovers between past and present.

The soundtrack for this new performance has been composed and arranged by Satch Hoyt. A vinyl album of the soundtrack, with vocals performed by artist Donna Kukama, as well as the printed script will be presented to viewers alongside the performance.