Rodrigo Mabunda has been selected as the first artist in residence at Akka Project Venezia
During his stay in Venice from October 17th until November 30th, 2019, Rodrigo Mabunda will be working on a new body of work, inspired by the Venetian surroundings. The end of the residency will be marked by an overview of the produced works.
Although Rodrigo has travelled outside Mozambique before, he will be visiting Venice for the first time. We hope that being surrounded by the Venetian art scene as well as the city’s cultural life shall provide him with an enormously enriching, stimulating and inspiring working environment, blending both classical and contemporary elements, which will have a significant impact on his work. Since Venice itself could be seen as intrinsically multicultural, this residency will endow the artist with the possibility to enter into close proximity with the global cultural scene and start a dialogue. This will be achieved both directly and indirectly, via introductions to local artists, gallerists and curators, museum visits as well as through exposure to the artistic elements present in every nook and corner of the city of Venice.
Akka Project is providing Rodrigo with a supportive and nurturing environment in which the artist will be able to work on his own terms, discovering and experimenting, allowing himself to be guided by Venice as a tremendous cultural storehouse.
About the artist
Rodrigo Mabunda gets inspiration from daily life. His drawings tell stories about parties, ceremonies, markets, and other places that are always full of people. He does not plan the stories in advance and simply picks a pen and begins drawing. The format of the box provides him the movements and helps him with the drawing but the final result is always a mystery.
Rodrigo Mabunda, born in 1985, is a self-taught artist. Born in a family of eleven, he had to start working at an early age, when he was only fifteen years old, by accepting any kind of job that would give him a monthly pay.
Initially, he began drawing on A4 sheets, but it is the discovery of the box as a creative medium for his drawings, which marks his debut as an artist.
His older brother, Goncalo Mabunda, always encouraged and pushed him to pursue his artistic career, but it was in 2015, during the visit by an art collector, that Rodrigo’s artistic career would start to make sense to him. Encouraged by family and collectors, Rodrigo started to produce more and more works and soon after he was included in group shows in Mozambique, South Africa, Portugal, United Arab Emirates and Italy.
“Giving me this opportunity gave me a feeling of strength, both as an individual and as an artist” – declared Rodrigo.
AKKA Project started its Artist Residency program in October 2019, Rodrigo Mabunda from Mozambique was selected for the first edition.
Rodrigo is a self-taught artist who uses packaging boxes to draw shapes and figures with the ball-pen. His works recall everyday life scenes.
During his residency, thanks to a series of educational activities organized by AKKA Project, Rodrigo Mabunda had the opportunity to visit different international cultural institutions, as well as the Biennale Arte and be influenced by the beauty of old masters and the city itself.
On this occasion, AKKA Project started an important collaboration with the Moleskine Foundation, for which Rodrigo contributed to the Moleskine d’artista Collection by creating a work using one of their notebooks.
During this residency, Rodrigo has created an original body of work called “ENCICLOPE_DIA”
Rodrigo Mabunda’s immersion in the millennial history of Venice immediately draws attention to the endless possibilities of any work of art, and to art practices outside of Western-sanctioned aesthetics. The frenzied rhythm of the overcrowded Venice, experienced before the coronavirus lockdown, its exceptional tide peaks and its breathtaking majesty have deeply dazzled the young Mozambican artist throughout his first Venetian residence.
The series Enciclope_dia perceived in its 15 works created on the boxes from Enciclopedia Universale dell’Arte conveys a boundless stream of consciousness. Movement, transition, and transfiguration of the Venetian landscape emerge spontaneously through the artwork by diving into its every-day life.
As a narrator who experienced and practiced between two different cultures, his works firmly investigate the intersections of the self and the other. In his impressive drawings, the oneiric interweave between bodies, gondolas, historic paintings and local monuments claim the fulfillment of intent beyond the materiality of the image.
Mabunda underlines the enormous fluidities of the notions of location and identity, two imperatives of existence in our age. Nowadays, to survive is to be on the constant move, to engage in a continuous shift, to recognize, and acknowledge, the underlying fluidity in the nature of things.