Goncalo Mabunda

*1975 in Mozambique

Gonzalo Mabunda is considered one of the leading artists in his country, if not on the African continent. He regularly represents Mozambique at the Venice Biennale and the Gangwon Biennale in South Korea. His works have been and continue to be shown in leading collections and museums around the world, such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern Gallery and the Hayward Gallery in London, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Brooklyn Museum New York, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Mori Art Museum Tokyo, the Johannesburg Art Gallery in South America, and the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf.

Exhibitions and art fairs

2024:

Sculpture Park, AKKA Project, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

METAL METAMORPHOSIS, LIS10 Gallery, Paris, France

2023:

Beyond the borders, This is not a white cube Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

10 years – Anniversary exhibition, Gallery Kellermann, Düsseldorf, Germany

Knokke Art Fair, Gallery Kellermann, Knokke, Belgium

PARAGONE: What’s wrong with the media today?, Lisbon, Portugal

Rescue Op, This is not a white cube gallery, Lisbon, Portugal

2022:

African Identities, 59th Venice Art Biennale, Venice, Italy

The chronicler’s throne, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

(IM)MATERIALITY, Agueda Arts Center, Augueda, Portugal

2021:

Zurich PopUp Exhibition, AKKA Project, Zurich, Switzerland

Lost & Found, Gallery Kellermann, Düsseldorf, Germany

Spring Selection, Gallery Kellermann, Düsseldorf, Germany

Night Citizen, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2020:

Gonçalo Mabunda in The Foundry, Foundry, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Deep Insights, Gallery Kellermann, Düsseldorf, Germany

The Urban Landscape, AKKA Project, Venice, Italy

2019:

National Pavilion of Mozambique, 58th Venice Art Biennale, Venice, Italy

Orator of time, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2018:

Game of thrones, AKKA Project, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Rassemblement, group exhibition, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

The messenger, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2017:

Devil in disguise, group exhibition, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Emperor of the sands, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2016:

Le penseur, group exhibition, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Manuscripts, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2015:

Studio Lumiere: 10 contemporary artists living and working in Africa, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2013:

When I get green, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2012:

New Work, Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Museums and collections

Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany

Tate Modern Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Hayward Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

PAC Padigione d´Arte Contemporanea, Mailand, Italy

Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Musée Mohammed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Rabat, Morocco

MACAAL, Marrakesch, Morocco

Museum of Modern Art Utrecht, Netherlands

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lissabon, Portugal

Museum Abilio de Mattos e Silva, Obidos, Portugal

Jean Pigozzi Collection, Genf, Switzerland

Chateau de Penthes, Genf, Switzerland

Dak´art African Contemporary Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Cape Town International Convention Center, Kapstadt, South Africa

Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA

Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA

Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., USA

Biography

Goncalo Armando Mabunda was born in Mozambique in 1975, the same year that Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal after 500 years of colonial rule. The country subsequently experienced a 16-year civil war in which over 1 million civilians were killed.

Goncalo Mabunda transforms weapons into art

Goncalo grew up in the midst of the bloody civil war; some of his family members were killed. In his unique art, he uses the scrapped weapons of the civil war – pistols, cartridges, grenades, rocket launchers, and Kalashnikovs – and transforms them into humorous and profound works of art as a collective memory of his country. His main motifs are typically African: masks and thrones, the ancient symbols of African culture. The throne is a symbol of power, and masks are traditionally used to fight evil spirits – in Mabunda’s case, the spirits of war.

Mabunda virtuously transforms the now harmless weapons into powerful works of art, thus turning the original task of destruction into a positive creative energy. Mabunda’s works are simultaneously contemporary witnesses, traditional cult objects, and symbols of a modern Africa full of creativity. They ironically comment on the absurdity of war and are a strong statement for peace.

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