Ilídio Candja Candja
Born 1976 in Maputo, Mozambique. Works and lives in Porto, Portugal.
Many artists take years to carefully create their identity as painters; but Ilídio Candja Candja merely followed his inspiration as painter, indifferent to associations and references to other contemporary artists, never forgetting his African origin. Painting after painting, the artist asserts his extraordinary creative freedom and produces a work of internal otherness to the art world without demagoguery or naïveté, influenced by what might have been his artistic training in the colourful tradition of his country.
He studied at the National School of Visual Arts of Maputo. Following a number of exhibitions in his home country, Ilídio relocated to Porto (Portugal) to develop his artistic practice. Two years after moving from Maputo, the painting of Ilídio Candja Candja has attracted the attention of many international art collectors and experts. Ilídio draws the audience into a personal exploration of his playful and dynamic energy. Executed in a style resonant with Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting, his works are characterized by spontaneous and confident brush strokes.
Inspired by his heritage, the riot of colours, personal symbols and African textile prints all serve to infuse his canvases with both a psychological and visual vibrancy. His large colourful canvases have a playful quality to them and many of the symbols found in his compositions draw upon his African origins. On the subject of the narrative components in his work, Ilídio says “The concept is to write with my paintings in order not to forget who I am, where I come from and where I intend to go.”
The first point to emphasize in the painting of Ilídio, is the way he is able to produce an universal painting; the universalism of his vision lies in how he uses images of handmade objects and ancient artefacts from his African imaginary, and the manner how he converts them into essential, unique elements in his painting, making use of collage in a modern context in a way that it becomes impossible to separate the collage-paintings of the artist's path.
Illídio’s painting isn’t about creating a critical position, but instead it’s an artistic, aesthetic and cultural practice analogous to those who are guided by a free behaviour, starting from the premise that art invents ways of inhabiting the world. The artist proposes us to inhabit his world, sending us an effective message of things that he’s sensitive to, including those that concern him from a remix of thoughts and ideas of the past, present and future.
The African experience of Ilídio Candja Candja became several experiments determinative to the structure of his paintings: flickering between image and idea, identity and experience. Colourful and exotic, the paintings of Candja convert themselves into infinite imaginary manners, an intelligent coexistence between images of African culture and painting-collage’s abstract backgrounds on which the images are introduced and the African memory is activated.