Artwork by António Ole

Township Wall

“Township Wall”, the over 10 meter long installation made up of approx. 100 parts comes from the Angolan artist António Ole. He created it in 2001 for the exhibition “The Short Century” in the Gropiusbau. As a gift from Ole to the Ethnological Museum, it has found a new home in the Humboldt Forum, slightly reworked by the artist.

António Ole has created several “Township Walls” in different cities around the globe. He designed the first wall in 1994 for his work “Margem da zona limite“ (Edge of the Border Zone). The title refers to the civil war in Angola (1974–2002), as many people sought refuge in the capital Luanda and the edges of the city at the same time form the borderlines to the area of deadly danger. For his “Walls”, the artist always uses materials from everyday life that are no longer used and are regarded as fit for landfill, scrap or rubbish. The “Township Wall” describes experiences that transfer from Oles’ home town Luanda in Angola to Chicago in the US and Berlin in Germany. Who does the town belong to? And what shapes it? The firmly cemented inner cities or the continually changing architecture in the niches and on the edges of town? Is it not in the “fringes” that we find creativity, innovation and freedom?

With the installation “Township Wall”, the Ethnological Museum integrates for the first time a work of contemporary art from Africa in its permanent exhibition. This underlines the challenge of the museum to present non-European societies and culture in their historic and contemporary form and in their trans-regional and global relationships, thus prising open the narrow concept of “ethnological”.

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