AKKA Project Dubai presents
Gonçalo Mabunda is interested in the collective memory of his country, which has only recently emerged from the aftermath of a long civil war. Mabunda works with weapons recovered at the end of the sixteen-year conflict that divided the region, creating objects of beauty from instruments of death – land mines, Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers, pistols, rifles, bombs and grenades – which he warps and welds to create vivid sculptures such as thrones, prehistoric animals with giant wings and legs, and anthropomorphic robots of the most diverse expressions and characteristics. While the deactivated weapons of war carry strong political connotations, the beautiful objects he creates simultaneously convey a positive reflection on the transformative power of art and the resilience and creativity of African civilian societies.
“My pieces prove that objects of violence can be transformed into something positive and something beautiful. Not only that but – to me – the reworked weapons represent the resiliency and creativity of African civilian societies.”
Mabunda is best known for his “thrones,” which, according to the artist, function as attributes of power, tribal symbols and traditional pieces of ethnic African art. They are an ironic commentary on his childhood experience of violence and absurdity amidst the long civil war that isolated his country.
Mabunda represented Mozambique at La Biennale di Venezia 2019 together with Mauro Pinto and Filipe Branquinho. His work has been exhibited at Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf, the Hayward Gallery in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery, among other venues.