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40 Under 40 Africa

Janire Bilbao

28 September 2020

Founder and CEO, MOVART, Lisbon and Luanda

With a background in strategic communications and advertising, Janire Bilbao arrived in Angola from her native Spain in 2011, becoming immersed in the lively artistic scene in Luanda while working on the Palanca Parade project, a charity fundraising campaign, in 2013. In 2015 she founded MOVART – initially as a pop-up gallery, exhibiting work by Angolan artists in a variety of settings across the city and beyond. In 2016, the gallery organised the first major solo show in Angola of work by the Luanda-born, London-educated conceptual artist Januário Jano at the Galeria Economico Banco, a prestigious new space which opened earlier that year. MOVART also put on displays in more unusual locations; the previous year, it commissioned the Angolan-Cuban artist Ihosvanny to create an installation for the half-built Maianga Office Park, repurposing this disused building as a space for rethinking the future of the urban environment.

Since the gallery established its permanent premises in the city in 2017 – the first commercial art gallery in Angola – it has grown to promote the work of Lusophone African artists on an international scale. It now boasts two outposts in Lisbon, while at art fairs – among them ARCO Madrid, ARCO Lisboa, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York, and Art Joburg – it has displayed work by the likes of the young São Tomé and Príncipe-born painter Kwame Sousa and the Angolan photographer Keyezua, as well as of Angolan painters of an older generation such as António Ole. In addition to its programme of exhibitions and artists’ residencies, the gallery offers advisory services including curatorial guidance for corporate collections.

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