J.S. Marcus talks up Angolan artist living in Lisbon, Yonamine, whose work has been compared to Warhol and Basquiat even though his influences have more in common with Chinese Contemporary artists:
Like Greece and Spain, Portugal is now thought to be on the brink of fiscal catastrophe, but at least it has a certified art boom to take the edge off. One of the best artists now working here is Yonamine, a 35-year-old Angolan, with a Portuguese grandfather and a half-Portuguese girlfriend. His elegant mixed-media collages, which combine silk-screen-rendered street art with real newspaper, can be found in exhibitions from Luanda to São Paolo.
“There were no art schools or museums in Angola,” he says, describing the “art education” he got from the propaganda-laced barracks of Cuba’s military contingent, which intervened in support of Angola’s leftist regime after the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975.
He found his artistic footing without knowing about Andy Warhol’s silk-screens or Jean-Michel Basquiat’s use of graffiti, and takes comparisons in his stride. “Warhol and Basquiat are dead,” he says. “I’m alive.”
In Portugal, Writers Die But Art Lives On (Wall Street Journal)