“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.”
Gonçalo Mabunda was born in 1975 in Mozambique and currently lives and works in Maputo.
He’s interested in the collective memory of his country which has only recently emerged from a long and terrible civil war and he works with arms, recovered in 1992, at the end of the sixteen-year conflict that divided the region.
Gonçalo gives anthropomorphic forms to AK47s, rocket launchers, pistols, and other objects of destruction. His work takes on a striking Modernist edge akin to imagery by Braque and Picasso. The deactivated weapons carry strong political connotations and convey a positive reflection on the transformative power of art and the resilience and creativity of African civilian societies.
Mabunda is most well known for his thrones that, according to him, function as attributes of power, tribal symbols, and traditional pieces of ethnic African art. They are an ironic way of commenting on his childhood experience of violence and the civil war that isolated his country for a long period.
Goncalo was selected for the exhibition ‘All the World’s Futures’ during Biennale Arte Venezia 2015 and for Biennale Arte Venezia 2019 he was one of the selected artists to represent Mozambique.