Though aesthetically influenced by such European avant-gardists as Georges Braque and Jean Dubuffet, Gonçalo Mabunda’s artistic practice is ultimately devoted to the study of the political history of Mozambique. After a decade-long fight for independence from Portugal and subsequent 16-year-long civil war that ended in 1992.
Mabunda’s home country was left with an abundance of defunct machine guns, mines, and other military equipment. Spinning these objects into sculptures that evoke both Western Modernism and African tradition, the artist effectively strips them of their killing power.
His signature works—metal thrones made of old guns—are meant to evoke and undermine the power of violent political leaders. Not only does he transform objects of violence into the aesthetic dimension of contemporary art, but he also criticizes gun trafficking, states of war and social stratification in the militarized areas.
Zavier Ellis curator and gallerist (Charlie Smith London) shares with Artlyst his favourite works from Volta NY, which runs from 2-6 March 2016
Gonçalo Mabunda Ethan Cohen, New York Volta Booth B7