The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection

Paulo Kapela

Born in 1947 in Uige, Angola. Lives and works in Luanda, Angola.

(Portrait by Kiluanji Kia Henda - [cropped])

Mestre Paulo Kapela was born in the Province of Uige, Angola. First and foremost a self-directed artist, Kapela began painting in the early 1960s upon enrolling at the Poto-Poto School of Painting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. He finally settled in Luanda and opened his atelier where he met a number of artists, who later became active and important members of UNAP (the National Union of Visual Artists). Kapela is known for iconic works such as the installations of altars, and for the use of collage, text and narrative to produce complex pieces that intertwine his own personal story of migration between Luanda and the Congo, between being simultaneously a local and a foreigner within the historical framework of Angola’s politics.

Despite having been an important figure and a master to many of today’s well-known contemporary artists, Kapela has gone through a difficult period, living under precarious conditions which somehow fuelled his creative spirit, leading him to experiment with and develop other techniques and media beyond traditional painting, such as collage, writing, stencils, and recycling materials.

Following substantial recognition that led him to win the ICBC Prize (International Centre for Bantu Civilisations) in Brazzaville, in 2003, Kapela’s work was selected for the Luanda Triennial. He has since been shown in many group exhibitions, including Check List: Luanda Pop at the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, in 2007 and more recently in You Love Me, You Love Me Not, a collaboration between the Sindika Dokolo Foundation and the municipality of Porto, Portugal. The latter took place at the Galeria Municipal Almeida Garrett in Porto, in 2015. Kapela’s work has been acquired by private and public collections, including the Sindika Dokolo Foundation in Angola.


2016 - Pop-Up Mash-Up 'Velhas Estorias e Novos Papeis', Espaço Luanda Arte, Angola

2013 - 'No Fly Zone. Unlimited Mileage', Museu Berardo, Lisbon, Portugal.

2009 - "Lusofonias | Lusophonies" Perve Galeria, Lisbon, Portugal

2006 - "Colecção Africana de Arte Contemporânea SOSO LAX", Luanda, Angola

2005 - "Africa Remix " Tokyo, Japan

2005 - "Angola Combatente" - Galeria SOSO, Luanda, Angola

2004 - "Mais a Sul. Obras de Artistas de África na Colaecção Caixa Geral de Depósitos" - Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal

2004 - "África Remix", Dusseldorf, Germany, London, UK and Centre George Pompidou, Paris France

2003 - "Tons e Texturas da Angolanidade" - Fórum Picoas, Lisbon, Portugal

1995 - "Africus" I Johanesburg Biennale, Johanesburg, South Africa