School next Door, the translation for the Portuguese “Escola ao Lado”, is the first solo exhibition of Portuguese Performance and Visual artist Rita GT who lives and works between Viana do Castelo, Portugal and Luanda, Angola.
Curated by Ana Cristina Cachola, The Lesson nº1 – Learning with Golborne presents an Installation and a series of Performative, Expositional, Interventional and Collaborative actions that the artist has developed with the aim to explore both the wider and intimate historical and current narratives of immigration in West London.
The School next door is laid out in the gallery with purposely conceived flat-pack furniture made as a collaboration between Rita GT, the architect Miguel Coutinho and the carpenters of the city council of her hometown. It features a series of artworks that Rita GT created for the site: photographs, ceramics, works on paper, and sound installations -inspired by research, interviews and performances she executed during previous residencies in this London neighbourhood.
Rita GT has drawn on the experience of the Portuguese community that arrived in the Golborne Road in the 60s and early 70s as a starting point for the artworks. That particular phase of immigration had as a background the- often forgotten in other parts of Europe, including in the UK- authoritarian, colonial Portuguese regime Estado Novo which was still fighting against Angola in its War of Independence, and drafting young male Portuguese civilians until its end only in 1974.
The School next door will open with three days of ‘classes’ aiming to give equal voices to the moderators and the audience in exchanging ideas and narratives about the area’s rich history of diverse immigration, from the immediate post-war period to the present. The artist will be an ubiquitous presence, as both artist and student, performing and/or documenting them, and encouraging all voices to be heard. The material gathered in the 50 Golborne Gallery will be the starting point for the next Schools Next Door that will be launched in other capital cities in Europe and Africa over the two next years.
On the first day, Thursday 22nd March, at 7pm, Rita GT will perform “I am an instrument”, with renowned blufunk musician Keziah Jones. The programme on Friday and Saturday includes Art historian and writer Yvette Greslé, independent radical scholar, political analyst, curator and cultural critic George Shire and curator Ana Cristina Cachola.