Nástio Mosquito will apply his multidisciplinary artistic approach to Malta Festival in Poznan, offering the strata of theatre, art and dance a fresh dynamic and perspective in a largely under-discovered city.
The Angolan born artist has never shied away from difficult issues. Much of his own art explores the intricate and complicated themes of identity, faith and colonialism, particularly pertaining to his own experiences coming from a land formerly ravished by colonialism.
Malta Festival will take place in Polish city Poznan, an emerging hub of creativity and art in the Eastern European country. A city with a turbulent history, it has been rapidly, and quietly, developing since the 1990s, emerging over the last few years as the unexpected butterfly and off-kilter choice for a festival.
Spread out across 50 venues, displaying around 300 total performances, the festival is a gateway stage offering local talent, as well as international names, a chance to explore their own creative realms in a unique environment where, for the duration of the festival, the city becomes a vibrant incubator of shared ideas and experiences.
A mainstay of Poznan's artistic life, the festival has been ongoing since 1991, lasting for three weeks in an immersive walk-in experience for natives and tourists alike. The economic boost, combined with its ability to continue helping shift the expectations and preconceived notions of life in Eastern Europe's less well-known cities, offers new fodder to the fertile land of Poland's largest cultural festival year on year.
It's here, at the connection point between art and audience, stage and street, that Nástio Mosquito steps in as this year's curator, promising to utilise the already established foundation of the festival whilst injecting it with a new urgency and, as with all that he does, depth and emotional resonance. Naturally, it'll all be good fun too.
Yet, it isn't necessarily what he can give the festival, but also what he can learn. For Nástio Mosquito, it's a journey, a place to explore ideas. In particular, it's the difference between Poland and Polish. Between nationality and national borders, behaviour and political order.
Under the title Army of the Individual, this year's edition, according to the curator, is about an attitude, about how you perceive your environment and the life you lead and relationships you have within it. Identity is never far from his mind, yet one so distantly removed from his own provides a curious challenge.
Approached by the host team from the festival with the notion of conflict, tapping into the hyperreal and amplified magnitude of 24-hour news and the bombardment of stories and images of war, Nástio Mosquito is honest and wants to translate this honesty. To him, conflict is 'inevitable'. it's just a case of when and how - those are the paradigms over which we retain power.
Conflicts, to the artist and curator, are the area of chaos from which growth and order can emerge. Our daily rituals are pocked with conflicts of varying orders of magnitude. Our lives are an ebb and flow of understanding and not, of start and stop. It's growth and if it's not growth, it's decay. It's this notion that he seems to be fighting against. This is his army, one fighting for change, however small it each step seems.
Underlining all of his work is a sense of social commitment, of accepting and understanding reality, rather than trying to block it out. This would lead to the idea that the festival is going to be, perhaps more than anything, a thought-provoking experience. Because if we don't think, we can't change. If we don't change, then nothing will.
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