The Portuguese Colonialism through the Lens of Ricardo Rangel: Analytical Contributions on Photography and Memory

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Bruna TRIANA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
During the colonial period in Mozambique, mainly when the conflicts for the independence intensified, a set of counternarratives were built and became important for the memory of the country, particularly because they contradicted the hegemonic and official narratives of the Portuguese empire. One name that occupies a privileged position in that context was Ricardo Rangel (1924-2009), a Mozambican photographer who wanted to bring attention to the violence, conflicts and paradoxes generated by the Portuguese colonization. Rangel’s photographs could be deemed a precursor of the Mozambican photography. The idea of this paper is to examine the work of Rangel in the context of intensification of anti-colonial struggle and independence in Mozambique, between 1950 and 1975. The empirical object of my research is his visual collection, from which I would like to examine, on the one hand, the narrative mechanisms used by him to compose a photographic experience – a particular point of view and a way to understand the daily life and the violence of colonial period, outlining an ambivalent socio-political context. On the other hand, I seek to investigate the importance and specificity of Rangel’s work within the panorama of Mozambican photography, in order to analyse which memories are possible to access from the images, which leads to looking at what senses and experiences the photographs generate. To do so, the photographs will be contrasted with a variety of materials, such as, but not limited to, interviews with people who lived in the colonial period, documents and newspapers of the colonial time, and Mozambican literature. Therefore, the axes of my analysis are the Rangel’s anticolonial activism (both in his trajectory and in his photographs), the inventiveness in the practice of photojournalism, and the memoir aspects present in his work.