Edson Chagas was born in Luanda, Angola where he currently lives and works.
In 1999, he attended Portugal’s Centro Comunitário de Arcena where he did a three-month course in photography and audio. In 2002 Chagas completed his studies in photography, art and photojournalism at the Escola Técnica de Imagem e Comunicação. He later went on to do a FdA degree in Photojournalism at the University of Arts in London (2005 – 2007). In the following year, Chagas studied documentary photography at the University of Wales in Newport (South Wales: 2007 -2008).
Chagas’ work considers the sociocultural context within contemporary cities looking specifically at consumerist culture and identity politics, pointing towards a broader dialogue between time and space.
Notable solo exhibitions include the site-specific exhibition Found Not Taken, held at the Kunst Haus Wien, Museum Hundertwasser (Vienna: 2016); Instituto Camões – Centro Cultural Português, (Luanda: 2014); Belfast Exposed Photography, (Belfast: 2014); and Memorial Agostinho Neto, (Luanda: 2013).
Notable group exhibitions include Recent Histories – New African Photography (Walther Collection, Ulm: 2017); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art (Seattle Art Museum and other venues (2015-16); Ocean of Images, the New Photography (Museum of Modern Art, New York: 2015); The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists (MMK Frankfurt, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, and other venues (2014-15); Journal (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London: 2014); NO FLY ZONE, Unlimited Mileage (Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon: 2013); Transit (OCA, São Paulo: 2013); RAVY Visual Arts Festival (Yaoundé: 2012); Future-makers (LVR-Landes Museum, Bonn: 2012); and the second Luanda Triennial (2010).
In 2013 his Found Not Taken series was exhibited as part of the Angolan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for best national pavilion. In 2015, Chagas was one of three artists shortlisted for the 11th Novo Banco Photo Award, with an exhibition at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon.