Art & Artists

Porto and MadridUwa Iduozee

A little girl lays her head on the lap of a woman. The woman can only be seen from the shoulders down. They appear to be in a bedroom, on a bed.

On the outskirts of Porto, the neighbourhood of Cerco reflects many of the statistics we have come to associate with economically and socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods. These traits have become the defining characteristics of the area in the collective imagination of their fellow Portoans, offering an often narrow and negatively charged framework for perceiving the area and the community living there.

The effects of this phantasm manifest themselves not only in the mental mapping of this space as divergent or dangerous, but also in the self-perception of the Cerco community.  The area is often characterised as an enclosure by the people living there, referencing the word cerco, which means siege in Portuguese. Cerco is understood as something separate from the city of Porto, highlighting the socio-spacial segregation and the barriers, both perceived and actual, to entering the city at large. The consequences of this are most evident in the youth, who, if not offered a countering narrative and a space for imagining without restrictions, will sometimes substitute their dreams for resignation in the face of their situation.

This work attempts to explore the constantly fluctuating intersections between childhood & adolescence and the different ways in which they converge with the conceptualisations of adulthood and “growing up” in an environment of economic and social precarity. By reflecting on the work of the Cercar-Te Project, a social program offering cultural and artistic activities to the inhabitants of Cerco, the project examines the methods with which the youth of Cerco navigate the competing forces they find themselves surrounded with, emphasising the transformational capacities of dreaming, community and imagination as forces for positive change.

Ainda não, mas gosto de pintar / Not yet, but I like painting at Bienal’23 Fotografia do Porto, 19 May – 2 July 2023

A little boy rest his head on a hand.

Ainda não, mas gosto de pintar / Not yet, but I like painting by Uwa Iduozee

Through a set of intimate portraits, Uwa Iduozee‘s project in Bairro do Cerco addresses the intersections between dreams, imagination and community, in the growth process of young people, deconstructing questions of self-perception, contradicting feelings of segregation and revealing the transformative potential of youth emancipation.

Iduozee’s commission for Together Again is realised in collaboration with Instituto Iberoamericano de Finlandia. The work, Ainda não, mas gosto de pintar / Not yet, but I like painting, is exhibited at Bienal’23 Fotografia do Porto 19.5-2.7 and forms part of the exhibition Inter-relações / Inter-relationships by Uwa Iduozee and Matilde Viegas.

The exhibition opens on the 19th of May at 16:30, Estação de Metro de São Bento. The exhibition is curated by Jayne Dyer and Virgílio Ferreira, 19 May – 2 July 2023, in partnership with Espaço, ArtWorks and Metro do Porto.

The Bienal’23 theme “Acts of Empathy’ affirms the collective and individual ability to feel, collaborate and drive change through artistic acts of connectivity, reparation and healing. Bienal’23 showcases projects underpinned by conscious artist participation in community and environmental initiatives to encourage reparative acts and empathy for the future.

Ci.CLO is responsible for the organization, production and curatorship of the Bienal Fotografia do Porto.


Aún no, pero me gusta pintar / Not yet, but I like painting at PHotoESPAÑA 9 June – 1 September 2023

“The kids here don’t dream”, Uwa Iduozee was told after arriving in Bairro do Cerco do Porto, on the outskirts of Porto. Referencing the neighborhood’s name, Cerco, which means siege in Portuguese, the area is often characterized as an enclosure by the people living there. Segregated and lacking many of the opportunities available in the rest of the city, the residents have created their own tight knit, and in many ways self-sufficient, community.

Pairing portraiture with Google translate conversations had with the youth of Cerco, this project explores spaces of dreaming, imagination and community, and the ways in which they intersect with the concept of “growing up” in an environment of economic and social precarity.

Uwa Iduozee is a Finnish-Nigerian photographer, filmmaker, cinematographer whose work aims to increase visual representation and storytelling about people who receive less attention in society. Marginalized communities, identity and belonging are key themes in his works.

“Not yet, but I like painting” can be seen from June 8 to September 1 at the Ibero-American Institute of Finland in Madrid and is part of the Together Again programme, organised by the Finnish Cultural and Acadmic Institutes.

Not yet, but I like painting
Uwa Iduozee

From Tuesday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed 24.7.–15.8.2023
Opening: 8.6. from 6 to 8 pm (with the presence of Uwa Iduozee)

Ibero-American Institute of Finland
C/San Agustin 7,
28014 Madrid

About the artist

Uwa Iduozee is a Finnish-Nigerian documentary filmmaker, cinematographer & photographer based in New York City, US and Helsinki, Finland. His practice examines stories that open up new visual representations toward both personal and communal identities and the ways that they relate to and are shaped by their environments. Everyday life and personal narratives are the core subjects in Iduozee’s work, opening up into wider discourses around marginalised communities and acceptance within societal and cultural superstructures.

Iduozee’s work has been exhibited at the Helsinki Biennale, the Finnish Museum of Photography, K1 & Miriam Gallery in New York, along with numerous magazines, newspapers, broadcast TV, online publications and film festivals in Finland and abroad. Iduozee has graduated from the Documentary Media Studies graduate program at The New School in New York and has a Bachelor’s degree in Photojournalism from the University of Tampere.

Uwa Iduozee. A black man is photographed from the shoulders up. He is wearing a black T-shirt. He stands in front of a brick wall.

Uwa Iduozee’s commission for Together Again is realised in collaboration with The Finnish Cultural Institute in Madrid.