Ilídio candja candja

"Painting after painting, Candja Candja asserts his extraordinary creative freedom and produces a work of internal otherness to the art world without demagoguery or naïveté, influenced by what might have been his artistic training in the colourful tradition of his country." | Victor Pinto

In his paintings, Mozambican-born artist Ilidio Candja Candja draws the audience into a personal exploration of his playful and dynamic energy. Executed in a style resonant with Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting, his works are characterized by spontaneous and confident brush strokes. Inspired by his heritage, the riot of colors, personal symbols and African textile prints all serve to infuse his canvases with both a psychological and visual vibrancy.

These painted collages by Candja are a compelling combination of cultural reflection and personal symbology. From abstracted backgrounds arise restless figures that belong to the artist’s own constructed mythology. Impulsive and aggressive gestures that reference Action Painting come together to create blurred ghosts, demonic entities, arachnids, and skeletons. An enigmatic tension arises in the work with the layering of more subtle geometrical and mathematical objects, photographs, and decorative elements taken from traditional African art and textiles. Candja Candja’s art is a contemplation on the African culture combined with a pursuit of exploring his own restless spirit.

artist bio

BORN | 1976 in Maputo-Moçambique
BASED | Oporto 1997/1999

EDUCATION | Visual Art School of Maputo, MZ.


BLOOM: Color, Caress & Seduction, Group Exhibition, Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Upcoming solo exhibition , Galeria São Mamede, Porto, PT.
Upcoming solo exhibition, Galerie Le Sud, Zurich, CH.

Nothing is Lost, Everything Becomes...Cosmos part#2, Galerie Frederic Storme, Lille, FR.
Freedom, Out of Africa Contemporary Gallery, Barcelona, ES.
Memory and fantasy , Gallery São Mamede, Lisbon, PT.

"No Borders: Another Page", Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta USA
"Nothing Is Lost, Everything Becomes... Cosmos", Hazard gallery, Joannesburg, SA.

“Xiluvha”, Galerie Frederic Storme, Lille, FR.
“African spirits, rhythm and symbolism, Gallery Rastro, Figueira da Foz, PT.

The game is to survive part#2, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfotein, SA.
Mozambique: The Dialogue Continues, GAFRA Gallery of African Art, UK.
Mahala blood/sacrífice for nothing, Plataforma Revólver, Lisbon, PT.

Archive, Galerie Lumieres de Afrique, Brussels, BE.

Invictus, Unix Gallery, New York City, USA.

Processes, constantly evolving…paints and paintings, Bozart Gallery, Lisbon, PT.
The game is to survive, Galerie Gree-t-room, Hamburg, DE. (catalog.) Ya, snene of life, Galerie Rammlmair, Hannover, DE.

Black people reincarnation, Aparte Gallery, Oporto, PT. (catalog.)

Metamorphoses, Ikon gallery, Braga, PT.
African Remix, 9art gallery, Lisbon, PT.

New paintings, Vitória gallery, Bragança, PT.

Trips na imaginary World, Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT.

Fragments of the past, Silva Guerreiro art gallery, Almancil, PT. (catalog.)
Indian dreams, House Museum Bissaya Barreto, Coimbra, PT. (catalog.)
Maze, Art Space João Pedro Rodrigues, Oporto, PT.

Tariff betwen zoology and lyricism, Belo Belo gallery, Braga, PT.

Vertical thinking, Camões Maputo Institute, MZ. A lookat my land wood flavor and zinc, Municipal Auditorium of vila de Conde, PT.

Colorfull challenges-dreams, Belo Belo Gallery, Braga, PT.

Samples 15 days, Fortress of Maputo, MZ.

A gesture a smaile, Meldarte, Maputo, MZ.


Action time, Cordeiros Gallery, Oporto, PT
From A to C, This being B, Gallery & Warehouse Space, Manchaster, UK.

Crossing the divide, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, ZA. 3ºth birthday Aparte Gallery, Oporto, PT.

In particular, 9art Gallery, Lisbon, PT.

Pessoa(s), Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT.

9art, Catholic University of Oporto,PT. Free enter, 9art Gallery, Lisbon,PT.
New with Julio Resende, Spontaneous color Gallery, Oporto,PT.(Catalog.)
Mitos & ritos, Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT.
35 anos da Independência de Moçambique, Galeria do Casino Estoril, PT.

Myth & rites, Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT. Roots, 9art Gallery, Lisbon, PT.
Colectiva, Saomamede Gallery, Lisbon, PT. Ethic Urban, Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT.
Project T6+1, Mariana Jones Gallery, Oporto,PT.

3 artis 3 continent the same language , Municipal Gallery, Barcelos, PT. Myths &rites, Ikon Gallery, Braga, PT.
7º birthday, Mouraria Gallery, Funchal, PT. Moçambique-Figueira da Foz, Casino Figueira da Foz , PT. (catalog.)
Light art, Convent of San Francisco, Coimbra, PT. 2007 6º birthday, Mouraria Gallery, Funchal, PT.

Bidimensionality, BCI-Fomento Library, Maputo, MZ.(catalog.)
Small format, Mouraria Gallery, Funchal, PT.

Bienal TDM, National Art Museum , Maputo, PT.(catalog) 


Many artists take years to carefully create its identity as painters; but Illídio Candja Candja merely followed his inspiration as painter, indifferent to associations and references to other contemporary artists, never forgetting his African origin.

Candja Candja is like a manufacturer who believes that his products will always be special for themselves. Painting after painting, he asserts his extraordinary creative freedom and produces a work of internal otherness to the art world without demagoguery or naïveté, influenced by what might have been his artistic training in the colourful tradition of his country. Two years after moving from Maputo (where he was born) to live in Porto, the painting of Ilídio Candja has attracted the attention of many international experts. The first point to emphasize in the painting of Illídio Candja, is the way he is able to produce a universal painting; the universalism of his vision lies in how he uses images of handmade objects and ancient artefacts from the artist’s African imaginary, and the manner how he converts them into essential, unique elements in his painting, making use of collage in a modern context in a way that it becomes impossible to separate the collage-paintings of the artist's path. 

Illídio’s painting isn’t about creating a critical position, but instead is an artistic, aesthetics and cultural practice analogous to those who are guided by a free behaviour, starting from the premise that art invents ways of inhabiting the world. The artist proposes us to inhabit his world, sending us an effective message of things that he is sensitive to, including those that concern him from a remix of thoughts and ideas of the past, present and future. The African experience of Ilídio Candja became several experiments determinative to the structure of his paintings: flickering between image and idea, identity and experience. Colourful and exotic, the paintings of Candja convert themselves into infinite imaginary manners, an intelligent coexistence between images of African culture and painting-collage’s abstract backgrounds on which the images are introduced and the African memory is activated.

Victor Pinto da Fonseca Plataforma Revólver Lisbon, September 2015