We first discovered this work at Photo London 2016. Below, we profile the young Angolan artist Délio Jasse (represented by Tiwani Contemporary Gallery) and showcase samples from his cityscape, cyanotype project: “Terreno Ocupado.”
Like many multi-faceted artists, Délio Jasse has never restricted himself to a single medium or technique. Growing up, he was first drawn towards using silk screens, but as he matured as an artist, he began to incorporate an ever-growing array of methods into his creative arsenal. Inspired by the beats of Afro and Latin jazz, Jasse searches for any and all rhythms and mediums that can help him with his expression.
Across his varied works, a unifying thread lies in Jasse’s desire to produce in “an artisanal way, feeling and showing all the elements which contribute to the creation of the final image.” For example, in “Terreno Ocupado,” Jasse elected to use the cyanotype process. In producing each image, he would begin with a blue emulsion and then paint on Fabriano paper. The paper was then exposed to the sunlight, using the original negative. In the final result, the influence of each craftsman-like step is visible: small variables, like the strength of the sun on the day that the print is created or the weight of Jasse’s hand as he painted, are etched forever onto the resulting object.
Although laborious, Jasse felt this technique essential in order to express “the idea of a city which had changed over time.” The city in question, Luanda, was once Jasse’s home. Jasse left Luanda as a young man, at the tail end of Angola’s decades-long civil war. He didn’t return until 10 years later. In his words, “The civil war ended in 2002 and Luanda began to transform. Finally, in 2011, I was driven to return for two reasons: a nostalgic feeling and, from the other, a plain and simple curiosity to see what had happened across the city during such an important time. I was attracted by the urban scenes which greeted me, a new vision that I could hardly recognize from the old Luanda. This attraction to the urban cityscape was how I tried to connect once again with my home.”
In the end, Jasse hopes his work conveys a “city in a permanent state of change, all the new and old buildings, and all the people who live in it…the feeling of capturing a frozen moment amidst the perpetual movement of city life.”