The Most Beautiful Language

Grada Kilomba


The Most Beautiful Language is Grada Kilomba’s first major solo exhibition, bringing her trans-disciplinary and singular practice of giving body, voice, and image to her own texts, using video installation, staged reading, performance, text collage, and sound installation together in one space.

Often told that her mother tongue is ‘the most beautiful language’, the Portuguese artist questions: which bodies can represent that language? And which ‘languages’ do these bodies speak?

With an intense, and precise beauty, Kilomba explores not only the colonial desires and contradictions of dominant narratives, but also unveils a space teemed with new languages. Languages that reveal the urgent voices of a repressed past and present; and oppose what the artist calls, a “double ignorance”: not knowing, and not having to know.

Curated by Gabi Ngcobo, the exhibition features new bodies of work that combine myriad art forms and genres, raising fundamental questions about speaking, silencing, and listening in a post-colonial society. For Kilomba, ‘the most beautiful language’ is the language that speaks one’s own silenced reality.

Grada Kilomba’s work is currently on view at two institutions simultaneously and for the first time in her home country. The Municipal Galleries “The Most Beautiful Language” at Avenida da Índia Gallery and MAAT, Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology presents “Secrets to Tell”. The exhibitions include different bodies of work and create a dialogue between both exhibition spaces. Two artist talks around Grada’s work will take place at Teatro Maria Matos and at Hangar.

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With text by
The Most Beautiful Language
Joana Gomes Cardoso, Gabi Ngcobo