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Iara, Angola

I grew up in Angola but was born in Romania. My parents studied in Bucharest in the 1970s. At that time there were university exchange programs between communist countries. My parents took advantage of that. We returned to Africa when I was still little and I lived there until I was 20 years old. At that age I decided to go to Europe, first Portugal and then the Netherlands.

My country was still in the midst of a civil war. I left with a broken heart. I love Angola. I love its culture, its cheerful people, its hospitality… My homeland deserves the peace and opportunity to develop, but it is broken. We can't get out of that valley. So many things are going wrong.

In the Netherlands we know little about it. What do people hear or read? Nothing! There is now a famine, with all kinds of consequences. People eat from the garbage. Crime is getting worse. Increase in teenage pregnancies. And so on. I want to shout this from the rooftops. I want to put my unknown and anonymous country back on the map. My battle is that Angola gets its chance.

I am currently setting up a foundation to start a soup kitchen in the capital, Luanda. That way we can offer people in need at least a bowl of soup or a hot meal. There are people around me who want to help. In the long run, I also hope to receive support from Dutch companies that do business in the country but do not pay much attention to their social responsibility.

As an artist, this also keeps me busy. For as long as I can remember, I've been thinking outside the box. I wanted to grow and develop, an opportunity I got here in the Netherlands. At first, I didn't believe it when people gave me compliments. But eventually I became more confident in myself. In 2008 I started with the Autonomous Visual Arts direction at the KABK in The Hague.

Art for me is a means of imagining what is difficult to express in words. I paint and I create pottery. I work very intuitively, but it always starts with an inner dialogue. I talk to myself about my concerns about Angola, or other topics that worry me. My work is positive. I trust that everything will work out. Because I continue to believe in the best of humanity.



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