Ângela Ferreira

Rádio Voz da Liberdade

Curated by Muriel Enjalran

Part of the 2022 France-Portugal Season.
– With the support of Camões, Centre culturel portugais, Paris, and Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Franco-Portugaise Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is inaugurating its artistic and cultural project Faire société by inviting artist Ângela Ferreira to present new works linked to historical forms of artistic activism. Ângela Ferreira, a Portuguese-South African artist born in Mozambique, conducts research into the social and political history of territories through the prism of art and architecture; she explores the colonial history of Portugal and reinterprets the play of political influences and interactions between Europe and Africa through composite installations mixing photos, films and sculptures. The exhibition at the Frac pays tribute to the essential role played by radio stations in broadcasting the world’s independence struggles, such as the Portuguese station Rádio Voz da Liberdade, housed by RTA Radiodiffusion Télévision Algérienne from 1962 to 1974, until the fall of the dictatorial regime and the New State.

Ângela Ferreira combines painstaking plastic research with a socially engaged reflection on a complex geopolitical history, whether it be on the vestiges of colonial architecture and the utopias to which the modernist projects in Africa gave rise, or on the memory of outstanding figures like Carlos Cardoso, a Mozambiquan journalist murdered in 2000 for having published an investigation into corruption linked to the privatization of the country’s largest bank. In a 2011 installation, she presented a structure representing a radio tower, broadcasting the voice of Cardoso, who was known for his radio reports. Ângela Ferreira also highlights the essential role of this communication tool in Mozambique’s rural areas, and on another level, the role that radio played in broadcasting the world’s independence struggles. The exhibition at the Frac shines a light on the solidarity links between Portugal and Algeria during the Portuguese dictatorial regime called the “New State”. The presented works explore this little-known history and pays tribute to the considerable help that independent Algeria gave to the process that resulted in the Carnation Revolution, by reviving the forgotten memory of the Portuguese-language radio station Rádio Voz da Liberdade housed by RTA Radiodiffusion Télévision Algérienne from 1962 to 1974. Uniting opponents of Salazar’s dictatorship, this free radio station aimed at Portugal and its colonies became the historic megaphone for anticolonial struggles by broadcasting the words of historic leaders fighting for the independence of the various Portuguese colonies. It was also an echo chamber for women’s rights activists, who made their struggles part of the greater movement to liberate populations. RTA Radiodiffusion Télévision Algérienne was itself born a of war of independence as the “The Voice of Free and Frighting Algeria”. Broadcasting secretly, sometimes by means of a mobile vehicle, it relayed the FLN’s speeches to Algerian populations in the war of the airwaves conducted against the colonial power. These sister radio stations are represented by two sculptures designed based on postage stamp illustrations of the 1960s, their constructivist vocabulary reminiscent of iconic architectural projects like Tatlin’s Tower (or the Monument to the Third International). Large mural paintings created based on archives, particularly photographic archives, look back at the history of these revolutionary media. The tribute to Rádio Voz da Liberdade emphasizes the sensitive, engaged relationship between art and architecture. Imparting a concrete and visible material form to freedom-carrying radio waves, it situates the creation within a both political and artistic discourse that shows one same global historical process linking the two shores of the Mediterranean, and reverses the colonial view of relations between populations.