Black Skin, White Masks: The Black Body in Presence

Buhlebezwe Siwani, Hwati Masimba, Rita GT, Valete


‘Black Skin, White Masks: The Black Body in Presence‘ is a performative exhibition curated by Nuno Silas and Titos Pelembe that takes Frantz Fanon’s proposal of ‘Black Skin, White Masks’ as its point of reference. The exhibition includes multidisciplinary works of music, sound, video, installation, photography and performance by artists established in Portugal and abroad. Buhlebezwe Siwani, Hwati Masimba, Rita GT and Valete explore themes centred on issues of identity, gender, violence, spirituality, and everyday racism and social issues, where the body is the producer of meaning(s).

This exhibition presents subjective ideas and experiences, committed to contemporary thought and decolonial discourse.


Buhlebezwe Siwani works with performance, photography, sculpture and installation. Siwani’s work interrogates the patriarchal framing of the black female body and black female experience within the South African context. As an initiated Sangoma, a spiritual healer that works within the space of the death and the living, Siwani has focused her artistic practice on rituality and the relationship between Christianity and African spirituality. Central to her work is her own body, which operates in multiple registers as subject, object, form, medium, material, language and site. Her work can be described, although not literally, as the documentation of a diverse set of performances, which are rendered through video, photography, sculpture, installation and works on paper.

Rita GT is a critical, interventionist artist who addresses themes such as memory, identity and the importance of human rights. Rita’s itinerant lifestyle has allowed her to develop a profoundly international scope in her practice, always valuing the historical viewpoints of the many cultures with which she has come into contact. Colonial symbolism is recurrent in her work, further defining her own identity and artistic language. The artist uses images, words and performance to interrogate and experiment, pushing the limits of the materials she uses and the concepts she addresses.

Valete is a Portuguese rapper of Sao Tomean origin. At a young age, he was an active participant in the Portuguese hip-hop scene of the 1990s. He is known for his left-wing, socially committed music, which portrays themes of the present day.

Masimba Hwati holds an MFA from University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and a PhD in Art practice, candidate at Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien. He is a 2019 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture alumni. He studied sculpture at Harare Polytechnic in Zimbabwe. Collections which feature his work include the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), Iziko – South African National Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Scott White Contemporary – San Diego, Jorge M Perez – Miami Florida, George R. Nnamdi – Detroit Michigan, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, and Gervanne & Matthias Leridon.

Nuno Silas is an interdisciplinary visual artist and curator whose practice encompasses performance art, performance art curatorship and artistic research. Nuno has participated in collaborations and research at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, the Natural Museum Berlin, and the Humboldt Forum Berlin, as well as in international performances with dancers, visual artists and musicians. He holds a degree in Fine Arts from the Escola Superior de Artes e Design Esad – Caldas de Rainha. In 2018, he was the recipient of a Gulbenkian Foundation scholarship for a master’s degree in African Verbal and Visual Arts, Media and Curatorial Studies at the University of Bayreuth. Nuno Silas was born in Maputo and lives between Germany, Mozambique and Portugal.

Titos Pelembe is multifaceted artist and curator-researcher in the artistic research collective Maputo Street Art, Repensar as Artes. He is also a mentor of the group Polana Urban Creative Space – Gallery 3/4, based in Maputo. Dedicated professionally to the visual arts since 2004, he has distinguished himself throughout his artistic career mainly in the field of large-format Ceramic Sculpture, among other artistic disciplines. He holds a post-graduate degree in Design Technologies for Health from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Porto and is currently a doctoral candidate in Art Education. He was vice-president of the Núcleo de Arte (2016-2818), is Ambassador of the Mozambique Island International Art Festival, and collaborates with the Kulungwana Association, Museu das Pescas, Visual Arts, among other organisations. He has received more than a dozen national awards for Sculpture, Drawing, Painting, Comics and Graphic Design. He lives and works between Mozambique and Portugal.

Public Programme

44 shades of white
Rita GT
Avenida da Índia Gallery