Chagas was born in 1977 in Luanda, Angola, and lives between Angola and Portugal.
He studied photography at the University of Wales in Newport (2008); London College of Communication (2007); and Portugal's Escola Técnica de Imagem e Comunicação (2002) and Centro Comunitário de Arcena (1999).
In 2013, Chagas’s Found Not Taken series was exhibited in Luanda, Encyclopedic City, the Angolan Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, winning the Golden Lion for best national pavilion. The series subsequently featured in the inaugural exhibitions at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2017). He was one of three artists shortlisted for the 11th Novo Banco Photo Award, with an exhibition at Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015). He is among the recipients of the 2018 African Art Award presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
Solo exhibitions have taken place at the Kunst Haus Wien, Vienna (2016); Instituto Camões – Centro Cultural Português, Luanda (2014); Belfast Exposed Photography (2014) and Memorial Agostinho Neto, Luanda (2013), in addition to two solo shows at Stevenson (2014 and 2019). Notable group exhibitions include African Cosmologies: Photography, Time, and the Other, 18th FotoFest Biennial, Houston (2020); Crossing Night: Regional Identities X Global Context, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2019); IncarNations: African Art as Philosophy, BOZAR Centre for Arts, Belgium (2019); Mask – The Art of Transformation, Kunstmuseum Bonn (2019); 6th Daegu Photo Biennale (2018); From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-face Picasso, Past and Present, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2018); National Gallery of Victoria Triennial (2017); Deconstructed Spaces, Surveyed Memories, 11th Rencontres de Bamako, Mali (2017); Recent Histories - New African Photography, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany (2017); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Seattle Art Museum and other venues (2015-16); New Photography: Ocean of Images, 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-LandesMuseum, Bonn (2012); and the 2nd Luanda Triennial (2010).