“I was born in Lourenço Marques (actual Maputo) in 1963, Mozambique, Africa. I lived there until I was 12. I danced for the first time in school during the period that the country was becoming independent. It was a revolutionary dance against the oppressive power of the Portuguese colonization.
In 1976 I went to Portugal where I developed my cultural identity having the North of Europe as reference. I became an artist. I was not aware that geographically Portugal is half way between Europe, America and Africa.
In 2004 I met Karima Mansour, a choreographer and dancer from Egypt, and together, we tried to do a collaboration project. Since then a lot of questions and doubts came into my mind, as our encounter was quite difficult to achieve. What is this culture that I am made of, what is “contemporary art” in other cultures and how can I become available to meet and understand the “other” that is distant from myself.”
(text written about my participation at the Meeting of The Dance Artists from East Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2006)
During my collaboration with Karima Mansour, between September 2004 and June 2006, I had the opportunity to visit Cairo for the first time. In October 2006 I was invited to participate at the Meeting of The Dance Artists from East Africa, in Kenya, where I had the opportunity to expose my experience of artistic exchange with an artist from another culture. In Nairobi and already in the middle of Africa, I noticed that since Cairo, I was doing a descending line towards the place where I was born, Lourenço Marques.
“I was eleven years old, the independence was imminent, it was an early afternoon filled with sunshine, very hot, full of expectations. Under a porch, on the rutty ground, we were waiting to enter to the stage. The public outside was arriving, meeting and little by little was moving towards the pavilion. I was wearing, as well as the other boys, a coloured capulana*, rolled up around the waist, with naked chest and barefooted. It was then that we entered the improvised stage and, nervous, we executed the steps at the same time that we were singing
“Wa'mutiva Txava Txava Yuí anga'ni n'dlala ya Maheú .Yuí Wa'mutiva Caetano Yuí Buyá gandzaia Salazar'
'*capulana was the name given to the traditional African fabric that was used – or is still in use – in Mozambique.
The revolution of the carnations in Portugal happened on 25 April 1974. Mozambique became independent in July 1975. Lourenço Marques became named Maputo. I came to Portugal on 31 March 1976.
I have never returned.
Bernardo Fernando (PAK) and Miguel Pereira
Sound Manipulation and Live Music
Sound Design and Musical Research
Ana Pais and Rui Catalão
Alkantara, Théâtre National de Bordeaux en Aquitaine
O Rumo do Fumo
Artistic Residency and Support
CENTA – Centro de Novas Tendências Artísticas/Vila Velha de Ródão, Centro Cultural Franco Moçambicano Culturarte/Moçambique, CAPA/DeVIR
Balleteatro, Associação Binaural, RE.AL
Carl Simmons, Forum Dança, Graça Passos, Jorge Andrade, Jorge Bragada, José Laginha, Luciana Fina, Luis Coutinho, Mark Depputer, Panaibra Gabriel, Timóteo Maposse
Project coproduced by Next Step with the support of the Culture Program of the European Union