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Alfredo Jaar
Muxima (stills), 2005

Six boys are arranged in a group and look to camera. They place their hands over their hearts. This image is a still from a film by Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar, Muxima, 2007

Muxima (2005) was Alfredo Jaar’s first moving image work, named after the Kimbundu word for ‘heart’. Rooted in Jaar’s love of African music, the film traces Angola’s colonial past and troubled present through three different renditions of a traditional folksong. Shots of street signs celebrating Communist revolutionary heroes and crumbling commemorative sculptures are shown alongside images contemporary life today: children at a beach; a patient lying in a hospital; a land mine exploding.

The stills in the South London Gallery collection were included in Jaar’s South London Gallery 2008 exhibition, Politics of the Image.

The first still depicts an empty outdoor cinema, the giant screen obscuring a busy fishing bay and the open sea. In the second, six boys pose with their hands across their hearts, an industrialised desert landscape stretching behind them. In the third, a couple sit in a boat with their backs to the camera, an umbrella lending vibrant floral colour to the muted tones of the landscape.

“People describe me sometimes as a conceptual artist, as a political artist, with work of a strong political connotation or social content. I always reject those labels. I’m an artist and believe it or not I’m interested in beauty and not afraid of it. It is an essential tool to attract my audience and sometimes I use it to introduce horror because the audience has to be seduced…Beauty becomes a tool to bring the audience in. And once they are closer, they discover other things. That’s a very good metaphor for what life is.” – Alfredo Jaar


Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York.  His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010, 2021) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).

Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995); and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008); Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012); Rencontres d’Arles (2013); KIASMA, Helsinki (2014); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017); Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa (2020); SESC Pompeia, Sao Paulo (2021) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2023).

The artist has realized more than seventy public interventions around the world. Over eighty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. He received the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018 and the Hasselblad Award in 2020. In 2024 he was awarded the IV Albert Camus Mediterranean Prize.