Track of the Week “Desabafo de um Qualquer Angolano” by Nástio Mosquito is weighty with an eerie near-monologue delivered in Portuguese by the artist, who headlines a lineup of diverse African performers at Design Indaba Music 2015. Hailing from Angola, Mosquito is more than a musician: he works across genres and disciplines to create music, objects, art, performances and videos. Here, his spoken-word vocals – rich and mellifluous, but delivered in a measured manner – are laid over shivering cymbals, echoing guitars and enchanting background vocals. The music is sweet and melodic in some cases, provocative and edgy in others, reflecting his versatility as a creator.
Nástio Mosquito’s avant-garde blend of art is fast attracting global attention. In December 2014, an international jury singled him out as one of two main winners of the Future Generation Art Prize, a worldwide contemporary art award given out by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in the Ukraine. Last year, The Guardian newspaper labelled him one of “Ten African artists to look out for” and he has shown in multiple group shows on platforms and institutions such as the Venice Biennale (2007), the 29th Biennial of São Paulo (2010), Across the Board: Politics of Representation at Tate Modern in London (2012), and the 9 Artists show at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis (2013).
Performing under a range of different personalities – including Nastiá, Saco, Cucumber Slice and Zura Zuara – Mosquito is not one to live a half-mast life. In a refreshing step away from the Angolan staple of Kuduro dance music, he uses his work to address his own presence as a man, as a sexual being and as a creator, as well as an African within a Western context.
As he told Okay Africa in 2012, he has “no respect for blind, irrational, supremacy-driven preservation behaviour of any f*cking kind”. He feels his work is driven by the need to project that into his immediate surroundings, in whatever way feels right at the time. From Minneapolis to Sao Paulo to London, Mosquito has picked apart his experiences in each city he has visited and made powerful socio-political declarations, inviting the viewer to witness their own roles in society at large.
Catch him at Design Indaba Music 2015, where he performs at The Side Show on Thursday 26 February.