Mario Macilau | Mozambique

“I consider my photographic practice to be a visual investigation, taking a critical view on identity, political issues, and environmental  conditions. These three broad themes come into focus through their impact on socially isolated groups, groups who need to retrieve  their voices and to cast light on these issues as they affect their own particular experience.”

Mário Macilau was born in 1984 in Maputo, Mozambique where he still currently lives and works. 

Macilau started his photographic journey in 2003, and went professional after he traded his mother’s cellphone for his first camera  in 2007. He specialises in long-term projects that link to multiple sub-genres; identity, political issues, environmental conditions, and  engagement with socially isolated groups. Macilau is committed to initiating positive change across different cultures, locations, and  perspectives. Taking portraiture as a point of departure, intimacy becomes the key to unlocking broader perspectives or narratives.  The way Macilau shoots is crucial for rich compositions (black and white, with muted tones and textures), and he uses depth of field  and natural light – sometimes resulting in dark black or underexposed background – to achieve a nuanced and poetic atmosphere in  his images. 

Macilau has been involved in many collaborative and educational projects. He is also an activist with Walking Together (WT), a  project for children’s rights which also provides access to education for girls and women. WT’s aim is to equip people with tools and  resources in order to transition from their current reality to one of self-suitability.  

Macilau’s work is held in many private and public collections. 

Selected solo exhibitions:


Art Paris Art Fair, Ed Cross booth, Paris, France  

One Way, Mov’Art Gallery, Luanda, Angola  

Moments of Transition, Art Africa Fair, Cape Town, South Africa  


Rostos e Espaços, Espaço Luanda Arte, Luanda, Angola, curated by Keyezua  

Volta Art Fair, Ed Cross booth, New York, USA 


The Road Not Taken, The Auction Room, London, United Kingdom 

Discover Show, Fotofestiwal Łódź, Poland  

Nada Como O Tempo, Kulungwana Gallery, Maputo, Mozambique, curated by Berry Bickle  


The Price of Cement, Gallery Jatad, Houston, Texas, USA 

Fora Da Cidade, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa 

Moments of Transition, Galeria Belo-Galsterer, Lisbon, Portugal  


Tempo, Galeria Belo-Galsterer, Lisbon, Portugal 


Living on the Edge, Kuona Art Trust, Nairobi, Kenya 

Taking Place, Gallery Influx Contemporary, Lisbon, Portugal  


Life goes on, Mediateca do BCI, Mozambique 

Wood and Deforestation, Kokopelli Festival, Belgium  


Terra de Boa Gente, Instituto Camões, Maputo, Mozambique  

Selected group exhibitions:  


AAKA Fair, Ed Cross booth, Paris, France  

FNB Joburg Art Fair, Espaço Luanda Arte booth, Johannesburg, South Africa  


Pavilion of the Holy See at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy 

Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Germany 

ENTRY PROHIBITED TO FOREIGNERS, Havremagasinet – Boden Art Center, Sweden, curated by Elise Atangana  

1:54 Contemporary Art Fair, Ed Cross booth, London, United Kingdom 

FNB Joburg Art Fair, blank projects booth, Johannesburg, South Africa 


Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom 2014 Fotofest Biennial, Houston, Texas, USA 

No Fixed Abode, The New Church Museum, Cape Town, South Africa 

next thing you know, blank projects, Cape Town, South Africa 

Embodied Reflections, Galerie SANAA, Utrecht, The Netherlands 

International Biennial of Casablanca, Morocco 

FNB Joburg Art Fair: blank projects booth, Johannesburg, South Africa 


NATURA, Paisagem e Natureza, Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga, Portugal, curated by Alda Galsterer 2012 Convergências, Alliance Française, Madrid, Spain & King’s Place, London, United Kingdom 


Dak’art Biennial OFF, Dakar, Senegal 

Crossing Point Residency, Les Rencontres d’Arles, France 

the KLM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 


Africa. See me, see you! Photo Spring Festival, Beijing, China 

VI Chobi Mela Photo Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh 

BESPhoto, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil 

BESPhoto, Berardo Museum Collection, Lisbon, Portugal 

São Tomé Biennial, São Tomé Island 

Bamako Biennial, Mali 

Lagos Photo, Lagos, Nigeria 

Common Language, for PLMJ Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, curated by Miguel Amado 2011 South is the new North, Gallery Influx Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal 

Hasselblad Master Finalist, Studio, London, United Kingdom 

Hasselblad Master Finalist, Shoot NYC, (La Venue), New York City, USA 

Hasselblad Master Finalist, Delight Studios, Berlin, Germany 


VI Certamen de Fotografia Digital, Santa Lucia, Spain 

32st Internationaal Fotofestival, Knokke-Heist, Belgium 

LagosPhoto, Lagos, Nigeria 

Mulheres e Fronteiras – Centro Cultural Franco-Moçambicano, Maputo, Mozambique 

Dockanema Film Festival, Maputo, Mozambique 

Bamako – Maputo, Centro Cultural Franco-Moçambicano, Maputo, Mozambique 

FotoArt, Centro Cultural Franco-Moçambicano, Maputo, Mozambique 

Gwanza Photo Festival, Harare National Museum of Art, Harare, Zimbabwe 


Bienal da TDM, Maputo Museum of Art, Maputo, Mozambique 

Gwanza Photo Festival, Harare National Museum of Art, Harare, Zimbabwe 

Month of Photography, Cape Town, South Africa 

Sonhos Perdidos, Rua de Arte, Maputo, Mozambique

Cozinhas Ambulantes, Centro de Formação e Documentação Fotográfica, Maputo, Mozambique

Unicef Photo of the Year Award, finalist exhibition 

VI Certamen de Fotografia Digital, Santa Lucia 

Ponto de Convergência, ICMA/Goethe-Zentrum, Maputo, Mozambique  

Selected Works



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