Nástio Mosquito is a multimedia and performance artist working with music, videos, spoken word poetry and a cappella.
He flirts with African stereotypes in Western contexts and often portrays himself as the central figure of his art. His work makes powerful political and social statements – slightly unsettling at first glance – in which he questions his own role as well as that of the audience.
His work was first exhibited in 2006. Subsequently he has shown in group shows at the Venice Biennale (2007), ARCO Madrid (2009), the 29th Biennial of São Paulo (2010), Gwangju Biennial (2012), in Across the Board: Politics of Representation at Tate Modern in London (2012), and in the 9 Artists show at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis (2013).
In March 2014, The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. included Mosquito in a roundup of “Ten African artists to look out for”.
And in December 2014, Mosquito shared the Main Prize in the third edition of the Future Generation Art Prize, announced by an international jury at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine. The Future Generation Art Prize is the first global art prize for artists younger than 35. It was founded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 2009 with the aim of acknowledging and giving long-term support to a future generation of artists wherever they live and work.
The jury said this about Mosquito’s work:
“Combining text, performance, video and installation in a distinctly original manner, Mosquito re-invents storytelling for our current moment. In complex vignettes that evoke a long tradition of spoken word poetry and musical improvisation, he brings an alternative dimension to the way in which we experience art, as well as the fraught realities of our global society.
His seemingly playful performativity becomes a framework for addressing themes that range from colonial history to changing geopolitical dynamics to human relationships.
To achieve this, technology as well as popular culture plays an important role through his integration of the tools of DJs, VJs, TV-shows, YouTube, and other devices characteristic of our media-saturated age. Mosquito’s powerful personal presence, adept sense of spatial dynamics, and sharp humour combine to challenge our perceptions of what we consider comfortably familiar.”
Mosquito and fellow winner, Colombian Carlos Motta, shared the award of $100 000, of which $60 000 was in cash and $40 000 was to be invested in the production of new works.
Mosquito and Motta will present their solo shows at the PinchukArtCentre in autumn 2015.