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Culture and Safety in Africa

UNAP gallery and ateliers

Name of space
UNAP gallery and ateliers

On the institution
Established by MPLA in 1977 UNAP – União Nacional dos Artistas Plasticos (“National union of plastic artists”) was conceived for the applicability of arts to the people of Angola. UNAP’s ambitious program originally included teaching painting, design and sculpture, hosting conferences and exhibiting artists work. Today the UNAP struggles to find funding, while its fellow artists struggle to find exhibition spaces and the building that hosts the art school and galleries is falling apart. Fernando Alvim expressed his belief that UNAP breeds artistic conservatism, as most of the artists are painters while the Triennial focuses instead on fostering young talents and “newer” media.

on the space / location
The UNAP building located in rua Rainha Ginga in Luanda is ruining and half abandoned. The UNAP archive – according to Nadine Siegert it was badly organized but existing in 2009 – has been destroyed after discovering that it got rotten due to infiltrations of rain from the roof. The exhibition space on the storefront is underutilized, while the second one on the corner has been recently occupied by young artists Rita GT and Francisco Vidal thanks to their own initiative with the support of Universidade Lusiada de Luanda. However, that space is currently closed due to the bad structural conditions of the building.

level of significance
It used to be one of the major places for art-production in Luanda, with two galleries in the first floor and a number of studios in the second, providing space for some of the local artists.
Despite the intentions declared by UNAP current director Bastos Galiano, saying that the government is preparing several actions to be taken in favor of a consolidation of the UNAP in Luanda and in order to install new decentralized centers around the country, the actual condition looks contradictory. UNAP artists and other independent artists complain the inaction of the governmental institution, with no belief in future programs.