Tati, the Liberated American Woman of the 70's, 1997

© Samuel Fosso

Here’s what’s happened


N’GOLÁ, the 8th Biennial of Arts and Culture in São Tomé e Príncipe, was a multidisciplinary event that took place from July 26 to August 18, 2019. For three weeks, the small island country in the Gulf of Guinea was a vibrant hub of contemporary African culture. The Biennial of São Tomé e Príncipe was initiated by João Carlos Silva in 1995. The aim of the Biennial is to connect the community of São Tomé e Príncipe with artists, designers and curators from all over the African continent. This year's edition, for the first time held as a festival, was curated by Renny Ramakers.

N’GOLÁ celebrated the power and beauty of African arts and culture and the way African artists and designers contribute to the future. The event presented a self-confident generation of African artists who are now rapidly reshaping their culture and society. Their work is fierce, stylish, beautiful, imaginative, poetic, sometimes even funny and entertaining, and at the same time strongly connected to their everyday reality with all its ups and downs, to their past and to their imagined future. Participating artists come from Togo, DR Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Niger, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Angola, Benin, Nigeria, and São Tomé e Príncipe.

The event was presented at several locations on the island of São Tomé. The main venue ‘Casa das Artes Criação Ambiente Utopias’ (CACAU), or House of Arts, Creation, Environment and Utopias, hosted a multidisciplinary exhibition of the arts. The old plantation home Roça Agua Izé and the old warehouse À Baià da Bô presened artists from São Tomé e Príncipe, and the ancient fortress of São Jeronimo was the place for concerts by multiple artists.

The  Opening Weekend featured a dynamic programme all around the island of São Tomé. At CACAU, workshops, talks and a hair salon took place. A fashion performance by Sunny Dolat & the Nest Collective took place at the ocean side near the Museu Nacional. The city market was the starting point of a festive parade by Yves Sambu and Sapeurs from Kinshasa. The restaurant Roça São João dos Angolares offered a gastronomic experience by João Carlos Silva.



The 2019 edition


N’GOLÁ is contemporary

N’GOLÁ exudes African culture

N’GOLÁ manifests Africa’s future

N’GOLÁ explores the environment

N’GOLÁ is visual art – fashion – architecture – music – gastronomy – technology – crafts – nature – all-in-one

Wait, that’s a lot of N’GOLÁ’s. Sorry, we’re not done, bear with us...

N’GOLÁ brings together local communities, traveling enthusiasts, artists and performers

N’GOLÁ connects São Tomé e Príncipe with the African continent 

N’GOLÁ challenges the creativity of all who come, visitor and participant alike

N'GOLÁ highlights the power of African passion, beauty and crafts

The official Opening Weekend took place from Friday 26 till Sunday 28th July 2019 – a program with workshops, movies, music, a conference, gastronomic experiences, performances, excursions, the exhibition launch, and much more. N'GOLÁ welcomed everyone from local to globetrotter, emerging artist to pro, connoisseur to neophyte. Together with you, we celebrate the power and beauty of African arts and culture! 

Fortia, 2017 © Lola Keyezua


© Image: Omar Victor Diop

Our Mission

N’GOLÁ Biennial of Arts and Culture wishes to expand the multitude of perceptions surrounding the African continent. While we feed on the inspiration of history and global issues, we focus on creating alternative and positive future narratives. N’GOLÁ Biennial of Arts and Culture underlines the power of African arts and culture and the way African artists and designers contribute to the future of society. The event presents a self-confident generation of African artists who are now rapidly reshaping their culture.

N’GOLÁ Biennial of Arts and Culture is a place where art and inspiring dialogues form catalysts for a more connected humanity. Ultimately and ideally, this brings the global North and South and the rest of the African continent closer together in order to exchange, collaborate, be inspired and learn from one another. N’GOLÁ Biennial of Arts and Culture facilitates a democratic playing field for Africa’s creative spirits, dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of African contemporary art and culture.​

"Postcolonial Africa is an interlocking of forms, signs and languages. These forms, signs and languages are the expression of a world striving to shape its own existence."

 - Achille Mbembe 


Renny Ramakers

Renny Ramakers is an Amsterdam based art historian. She is co-founder and director of Droog, the renowned experimental design initiative from the Netherlands. In 1993 she and Gijs Bakker started Droog as an anti-statement; a down to earth design mentality with a human touch that opposed the high style and form-based world of design.

Today, Ramakers' work often reaches beyond the realms of design. She created the research-and-do programme Design+Desires with the aim to develop new perspectives on a changing society. She is also working as an independent critic and curator, and lectures worldwide. She has curated various events, such as the huge presentation Open Borders in Lille, featuring cutting-edge European designers, artists, architects and other creative people, and Pioneers of Change, a festival of Dutch design, fashion and architecture on New York’s Governors Island. As a critic, she has contributed to international magazines and catalogues, and authored several books. A book about her life and work has been published early 2019. She was named one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World” by the American magazine Newsweek and received the Dutch Royal Honors for her work.



About Us

N'GOLÁ marks the 8th edition of the biennial of São Tomé e Príncipe, the first time to be held as a festival. 

The biennial of São Tomé e Príncipe was initiated in 1995 by João Carlos da Silva (international TV-chef and chef of the restaurant Roça São João). The completion and re-opening of CACAU in 2019 coincides with a new concept for the event, outlined by the curator of the 8th edition, Renny Ramakers (co-founder of Droog in Amsterdam, The Netherlands). 



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Support São Tomé
e Príncipe

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Committee of Honour

Dr Jorge Lopes Bom Jesus

The 1st Minister of São Tomé e Príncipe

Dra Maria da Graça
de Oliveira Lavres

Culture and Tourism Minister of São Tomé e Príncipe

Anne van Leeuwen

Dutch Ambassador Angola

Dr Luis Gaspar da Silva

Portuguese Ambassador São Tomé e Príncipe

Dr Miguel Reymao

The BISTP Executive President 

The Team

Director and founder 

of the biennial & CACAU

João Carlos da Silva

Curator N'GOLÁ Festival 2019 

Renny Ramakers

Curatorial assistance & graphic design

Joan Doyer

Project management

Chris van Bokhorst


Olavo Amado

Paulo Daio
Adilson Castro

Kwame Sousa

Marketing - Communication

Yev Kravt

Claire Hoogakker

Exhibition Design

Edith Gruson

PR São Tomé
e Príncipe

Katya Aragao

Production music

Enerlid Franca

(On Time Entertainment)

& Leon Ramakers


Joris Kleverlaan