"I have been incredibly fortunate to share a connection with the traditional world, in its many guises. Firstly, through music, before ritual, ornamentation, and then to weaving. I have created platforms and projects aimed at helping, even if only to a small degree, some of these art forms, bringing them to the fore to be seen in their authenticity. If we look at intangible cultural heritage today there are increasingly more forms being classified. At the same time, globalisation is placing our world and its traditions at major risk. Their history, and ours, is disappearing without a trace.
The projects I have created have all come from the heart. They have arisen spontaneously, through a powerful connection to each of these artists. Little by little, in the natural development of their own creation, I will share more and more of them, in the hope that you will feel the same connection too."
Alexandra de Cadaval
With a degree in Cultural Industries and co-director of the World Sacred Spirit Festival, Alexandra boasts vast international experience in the arts and in artistic production, having worked with traditional and contemporary artist and with disadvantaged populations.
Since gaining her degree in Cultural Industries from City, University of London, in 2005, Alexandra has been devoted to music and the arts. Working closely with renowned French artistic director Alain Weber, she has directed and organised music and cultural festivals, including Festival Évora Clássica, Festival Os Orientais, and Festival Évora Africa, all in Portugal; and the Sacred Spirit Festival, in India.
Her experience working with cultural heritage alongside Alain Weber has helped her develop skills with a view to creating platforms for rural art forms and nurtured her passion for traditional cultures. Nowadays, having worked extensively in Africa, she has also developed a deep passion for African contemporary art, creating several international exhibitions.
She has also worked extensively in humanitarian aid since 2007, when she was a volunteer worker for Portuguese NGO APOIAR, undertaking several projects in Mozambique, such as the use of traditional music as a vehicle of relief for disease and poverty and for improving education.
She worked directly with Mozambique’s ministries of Culture and of Foreign Affairs, and the Institute for Socio-Cultural Studies of Mozambique as a founding member of Mozambican association hOUVE – a cultural project with a multisector approach to livelihood generation, including research, archiving, and education of the next generation, while using arts inherent to their local communities – identifying these arts and their creators and improving their conditions and those of their communities.
Hopping between Europe, India and Africa, Alexandra works tirelessly to support endangered traditional music and dance, while striving to find solutions for improving living conditions and health problems in rural communities and endeavouring to create real livelihood opportunities. She has created events in urban slums, using traditional music with a view to developing self-esteem and the social reintegration of marginalized children and teenagers and of people dealing with the painful consequences of war or diseases like HIV/AIDS.
In 2009, she was invited to serve at the Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Mozambique, at which she held the role of Counsellor. She was later appointed as head of mission for the Ordre de Malte France in Mozambique, developing all of its local projects since 2012, namely in the framework of the National Plan against Leprosy and aid for health groups and health units in becoming self-sufficient: She also conducted Mozambique’s most recent surgical missions for the National Plan against Leprosy in the Nampula Province.
With regard to contemporary art, Alexandra organised the first solo exhibition of Mozambican artist Gonçalo Mabunda, entitled ‘Game of Thrones,’ at the Pierre Passebon Gallery in Paris; it was later shown at the Venice Biennale, in 2015. She also directed the exhibition series ‘Dá Licença,’ by universally acclaimed Mozambican photographer Mauro Pinto, in her family’s ancestral palace in Évora.
She worked with Mauro Pinto in a field particularly close to her heart: challenging the contemporary with the traditional. A work that has been developed with photographer Mauro Pinto, involving the protection of the masked expressions of the Bwaba ethnic group in Burkina Faso.
In front of the restoration of her family palace, in Évora, she organises temporary exhibitions with renowned artists each year. In 2018, she presented the largest exhibition of African contemporary art in the country, accompanied with three months of musical programming. This year, the palace reopened its doors with a major exhibition of contemporary art in honour of the Kingdom of Morocco, in partnership with Fondation Pierre Bergé–Yves Saint Laurent.
Alexandra has a real passion for the arts, finding her joie de vivre in both the rural and urban worlds, through traditional or contemporary sources, from the poorest to the most sophisticated.