Grada Kilomba is a writer, scholar and interdisciplinary artist active in the Berlin art scene, the city where she lives and works. Born in Lisbon, she has roots in São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola. Her work addresses the issues of gender and race, and the notions of trauma and memory, either in the context of the current debates on colonialism and post-colonialism in the early 21st century, or as a research into the ambiguous relation between memory and forgetting, and the collective memory and identity of Africans and of their diasporas. Evoking African oral traditions and their power to carry on the spoken word, the artist’s work gives voice to silenced narratives with the aim of rewriting and retelling a history that has been suppressed or disregarded.
Using and combining different mediums, Grada Kilomba (b. 1968) has been exploring unconventional, experimental and interdisciplinary artistic practices; her performances, video installations, readings and lectures create an interface between text and image, between artistic and academic language. Showing her work for the first time in Portugal, the artist presented the exhibition Secrets to Tell at MAAT. The exhibition, the first to be presented in the context of the MAAT | Project Room series, was centred on the video installation The Desire Project, a work specially conceived by Kilomba for the 32nd São Paulo Biennial, in 2016, which now is part of the EDP Foundation Art Collection.