Sandra Poulson

BA Fashion Print, Winner 2020 and YourNOVA, 2020

Sandra Poulson

This work is an archival piece of information explored through documents, artefacts, garments, moments, headlines, oral tradition and historical data that define the sociocultural, economic, political, ethnic and cultural landscape of Angola. It operates as an instigator for action towards progress by creating an opportunity for individual agency for one to “discuss their own story” and, by all means, tell it.

An Angolan Archive is an assemblage of around 200 pieces of information in the form of written texts, research images, garments, voice recordings, drawings, wood artefacts, installation, photography, performance and video works. This ongoing project utilises a selection of common household Angolan items to discuss the relationship between family and inherited societal memory from colonial Angola and the civil war. Aiming to dismantle contemporary Angola through semiotics studies of such ordinary objects as actors in cultural and political ongoing transformations. Here all items are studied not only in a material level, but mostly in a material culture perspective.

This work acknowledges that an archive is colonial in outlook. Therefore the task of decoloniality is central to An Angolan Archive, as the notion of African-led own archives is still to confront the current realities being depicted by external bodies.

This project started with a research trip to Luanda, my home town, where I spent a month capturing and engaging with the daily life of the city, from informal settlements to downtown Luanda. I documented around 3,000 pieces of information through photography, video and voice recordings.

The project evolved into prototyping and making artefacts using wood, casting, metal and screen-printing workshops. When London went into lockdown I contemplated using the roof space of a flat next to where I live. Eventually I had the courage to occupy it as my studio, medium and – to some extent – subject. I finally met the owners, and later the construction workers that were refurbishing the flat next door, and began an eight-week self-led roof occupation, which at points, I argue, perhaps became the actual work.

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