Interview with Mário Gomes, Young Angolan Artist Participating in the ResiliArt/Jazz Day Exchange in Newark
1. Does art always need to have a purpose? In what ways do you think music and arts contribute to peace and dialogue amongst people, what role can artists play?
I believe so. For me, art is one of the biggest ways to expand the culture of peace, because we know that we artists are opinion makers. So, it is important to pay close attention to the tenor of our artistic content, from the way we write to the way we relate to the people who receive our musical message.
2. How has joining ResiliArt Angola benefited you as an artist?
Joining ResiliArt has benefited me in many ways. I have been able to meet several artists with inspiring stories of resilience. Through this magnificent project I have had the chance and opportunity to showcase my music to more people. One highlight was the opportunity to perform at the event that celebrated the festivities of the Biennale of Luanda - Pan African Forum for the Culture of Peace.
3. What do you think is the added value of this cultural exchange put in place by ResiliArt Angola with the city of Newark?
I think that this cultural exchange will be very significant, because from there we will be able to share experiences with artists that come from other cultures and have different backgrounds and influences, and we will also, in some way, be able to showcase our culture and our roots. I think it will further strengthen our cultural ties.
4. What are you hoping to accomplish during your stay in Newark? What do you hope to convey about Angolan culture?
There I naturally hope to get to know other artists' stories, and to be able to learn more about their experience. I intend to bring a musical mix from old and modern trying to be as original as possible and share all of our daily experience in the form of music for all of them.
5. Do you have any African references that motivate you to do this work?
Yes, I do. One of them is Lionel Loueke, Guitarist from Benin. He is one of my biggest musical influences, because he manages to mix African roots music with modern jazz influences.
6. What advice would you give to other young people interested in entering the artistic industry?
The main thing is focus and discipline, no matter what your conditions are at the beginning, the important thing is to get started. Talent is divine, but the development of this talent depends on one’s willpower. Much strength to all young people who aspire to enter the art industry!