Although four decades have passed since the war Portugal’s dictator, Salazaar, influence still remains. Police agencies he formed are still active as well as reminders of him such as the bridge over River Tejo which is still used everyday although now its name has changed to the date of the Portuguese Revolution as oppose to its previous name after him.
Approximately 14,000 Portuguese soldiers died fighting in the colonial war of the 1960’ and 1970’s in the Portuguese African colonies, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, but overall around tens of thousands died during the duration of the war. Once these countries gained independence from Portugal in 1975 millions of lives were additionally taken as civil war broke out throughout all three undeveloped countries. As a result, over a million refugees emigrated to Portugal, ending in straining the Portuguese economy.
This project is built on my research and develops the themes I have been exploring through other previous work. With that it forms the foundation for my ongoing plans to carry on with this project after I graduate and hopefully take my final work to Portugal to exhibit there to the Portuguese and African public who have been effected by the war as well as to those who have an interest in the history of the colonial war.
Work such as that of Tim Hetherington – Sleeping Soldiers, Verna Posever Curtis – Photographic Memory (pages 187-195), Richard Mosse – Infra, Susan Barton – soldier has informed my own work. The work of Tim Hetherington Sleeping Soldiers has especially informed my own work when I started researching around this in #Phonar.
I have already and am continuing to conduct research and am currently working onsite in Portugal where I have already managed to gain access into the army base in Viseu where my grandfather was based in Portugal before being send to Africa as well as managing to set up a meeting to speak to the highest serving commander there. I have spoken to him about the war where I recorded our conversations as well as photographed and filmed. I have collected a lot of information, images and recordings to bring back to England with me to work on.
I am having my work in Portuguese with English subtitles as that is the best way for it to be presented for the public to get an authentic feel for it. For my final exhibition I want to present it as a photo film with research artefacts as well as physical artefacts on show as I want the audience who are coming to view to be able to hold and touch thing as well as just view the work.