This article uses the 7th São Tomé and Príncipe Biennial (November 30, 2013 to February 28, 2014) as a case study for exploring the intertwined notions of utopia and nostalgia in postcolonial cultural politics. From its inception in 1995, the art festival has been concerned with questions related to national identity, and it has evolved into an important site where these themes are debated and expressed. Since this small and remote African island nation is distinguished, on the one hand, for its interesting and vital visual arts community and, on the other, for the large number of NGOs operating on its territory, the issue of development has become inextricably linked with the biennial project. Although plans to collaborate with Angola for the 2014 festival rested on visions of a more balanced South-South/Lusophone/pan-African cooperation, the author discovered that the reality continued a legacy of broken promises beginning with the dream of independence.
- Centre for Black Humanities