In this first solo show in Johannesburg, Mozambican artist Gonçalo Mabunda explores the cycles of destruction and regeneration in the process of creation and history, suggesting new symbols of universality and vitality. An internationally acclaimed artist, Mabunda deals with the fierce destruction of civil war in Mozambique by neutralizing its weapons and creating peaceful or cheerful sculptures.
In 1995, he worked with South African sculptor Andries Botha and had a strong artistic revelation. Through his cathartic practice, he became a combatant of life. Creation as a healing process; this exhibition is also a celebration of invincible optimism and resilience. Mabunda invents a universal language from specific historical dramas.
The fire that brings the sculptures to life as well as the materials and the tools are metaphoric codes in themselves and a means of construction, liberation and purgation. Beyond the apparent quite harmony of the works, one can always sense a subtle but solid force of permanent and endless transformation that speaks of the human experience
Parallel to the exhibition Goncalo Mabunda is working as Artist in Residence at the Drill Hall for one month. The residency forms part of an ongoing cultural programme run by the Joubert Park Project and is supported by Pro Helvetia Cape Town and the National Arts Council. Artists are asked to respond to the specific context and history of the Drill Hall, as a former military base and current inner city heritage place. Mabunda will be presenting his work at the Drill Hall on the 16th of February. The exhibition will coincide with ‘KELEKETLA’, the launch of the Drill Hall library, a project by Artist-in-Residence Bettina Malcomess, in collaboration with the collective InnaCityCommunity, who are based at the Drill Hall. Expect a line up of readings with local youth, screenings and performances, including Likwid Tongue, Ms Button, Meat the Veggies, Dj Medicine and Peee.
25 January – 16 February 2008
gonçalo mabunda, throne for an african king, metal and recycled weapons, 2004