Modern African Art : A Basic Reading List

Southern Africa : Mozambique


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9 [nove] artistas de Moçambique; [exhibition, Expo `92, Universal Exposition, Seville, 1992] / text by Rhandzarte. Maputo: Museu Nacional de Arte de Moçambique, 1992. 1 volume [unpaged]. illus. (color). Text in Portuguese and English. ND1097.6.M6N93 1992 AFA. OCLC 3057928.

Mozambique was a hotbed of artistic activity in the years following independence in 1975, particularly at the Centro de Estudos Culturais in Maputo. The center attracted many aspiring artists, not all of whom survived the artistic test of time, nor succeeded in moving beyond imitating the two luminaries: Malangatana in painting and Alberto Chissano in sculpture. But a number were able to succeed to the extent of making a living from their art. Because Mozambican artists did not depend on foreign patronage, and because they shared the experiences of war and political struggle, one might argue that a national identity, even a national style, evolved. According to Rhandzarte, there is a certain "Mozambicanicity" -- not isolating and provincial, but affirmative and distinctive.

The nine selected to represent Mozambique at Expo `92 were: Bertina Lopes, Roberto Chichorro, Alberto Chissano, Estevão Mucavele, Malangatana, Naguib, Rafael Nkatunga, Samata Mulungo, and Victor Sousa -- two sculptors and seven painters. Several works of each are illustrated.

Adélard, Luís, 1960- Com as mãos: 24 artistas moçambicanos. Lisboa: Athena, 2010. 222p. illus. (color). Text in Portrguese. TR820.5.A253 2010 AFA. OCLC 75470770.

Twenty-four Mozambican artists are celebrated here, pictured at work in their studios - - from the oldest, Bertina Lopes (b. 1924) to the youngest, Pinto (b. 1980). A brief introduction to each artist and biographies provide the only text. This book is more about the photographer, Luís Abélard, but still offers us studio visits to see these artists at work.

Alpers, Edward A. "Representation and historical consciousness in the art of modern Mozambique," Canadian journal of African studies (Ottawa) 22 (1): 73-94, 1988. illus., notes, bibliog. French abstract, page 73. Reprinted in Art et politiques en Afrique noire = Art and politics in Black Africa. Ottawa: Canadian Association of African Studies, 1989. N7391.65.A785 1989 AFA. OCLC 20260907.

The artists of the colonial period in Mozambique shared an historical consciousness, which is expressed unequivocally in their art. Symbols of colonial domination and the superior even mystical power attributed to Europeans are reflected in art forms, such as the Makonde mapico (mapiko) masquerade or machinamu ancestor figures. Social commentary was understandably less evident in the early Makonde sculptures sold to the Europeans, but it was not wholly absent. Among the Makonde sculptors who moved to Tanzania, there is a greater artistic freedom in representing oppression or satirizing Europeans. The emergence of a national culture of resistance among artists in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) from the 1950s is an even clearer expression of historical consciousness. Malangatana is the dominating figure of this modern group of artists. His paintings and the later sculptures of Albert Chissano became powerful symbols of resistance to the increasingly radicalized intelligencia during the last years of colonial rule. The painter Inàcio Matsinhe was another voice of resistance, though from exile in Lisbon. In the period after independence in 1975, the new government encouraged revolutionary art, an official popular art, now seen as supporting the transformation of the society.

As Áfricas de Pancho Guedes” colecçao de Dori e Amâncio Guedes = The Africas of Pancho Guedes: the Dori and and Amâncio Guedes collection. Lisboa: Câmara Municipal de Lisboa: Sextante Editora, 2010. 299 pp. illus. (chiefly color), bibl. refs. Text in Portuguese and English. N7391.65.A386 2010 AFA. OCLC 715290884.

Pancho Guedes was an architect in Maputo, but he was also an artist and a collector of African art. We associate him with the ‘new African art’ of the 1960s, mainly in Mozambique, and his mentoring of Mozambican artists, notably Malangatana. A key chapter in this catalog is Alda Costa’s “Revisiting the years when Pancho Guedes lived in Mozambique: the arts and the artists” (pages 25-39). Guedes played a significant role in Frank McEwen's 1962 International Congress of African Culture, in Salisbury, Rhodesia. Guedes’ vast African art collection—illustrated here—includes many works by Mozambican artists.

Bienal TDM’99 (4th : 1999 : Maputo, Mozambique). Catálogo Bienal TDM'99. Maputo: Telecomunicações de Moçambique, 1999. 1 volume. chiefly illus. (color). N7397.6.M6 AFA. OCLC 5317731.

The 1999 Bienal TDM, sponsored by Telecomunicações de Moçambique, featured 228 works of art by Mozambican artists, jury-selected from a wide range of almost 500 submissions. The seven categories were painting, sculpture, drawing, engraving, batik, ceramics, and tapestry with awards given in each medium. All works are illustrated in color with brief biodata on the artists. Two recently deceased Mozambican artists are honored with separate tribute sections: Jorge Nhaca (1943-1997) and José Freire (1930-1998).

Bienal TDM'03 (6th : 2003 : Maputo, Mozambique). Catálogo: Bienal TDM’03 Maputo: Telecommunicações de Moçambique, 2003. 96pp. illus (pt. color). N7397.6.M6 2003 AFA. OCLC 57405595.

The 2003 Bienal TDM in Maputo, Mazombique, like earlier biennials, was a juried show, awarding prizes for painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics. The open competition attracted mainly men artists, many of whom had some kind of art training. Works of each are illustrated and award-winners are identified.

Costa, Alda. A Arte em Moçambique: entre a construção da nação e o mundo sem fronteiras: 1932-2014 = The Art in Mocambique: Between the Construction of a Nation and a World Without Borders. Lisbon: Verbo, 2013. 419pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (pp 381-406). Text in Portuguese. N7397.M6 C67 2013. AFA OCLC 878192810.

Art historian Alda Costa gives us the most comprehensive book on modern art in Mozambique to date—the published version of her doctoral dissertation. It covers the better part of the 20th century, including the colonial period, the years of struggle for independence, and the post-colonial era. Costa mines archival sources and enriches them with dozens of interviews—and, of course, surveys of published materials. She also appends a fairly extensive list of Mozambican artists. There are 63 plates of artworks, plus illustrations, chronologies, and documentation of significant exhibition catalogs and art publications.

What themes does she cover?: colonial initiatives at collecting and exhibiting art; the establishment of the Museu Nacional de Arte; the history of art education in Mozambique; nationalism and art; art movements and artists’ groups; the challenges of art in the post-colony period; art and globalization. Far ranging in scope, the Costa's efforts result in an encyclopedic cultural history of Mozambique from colonial times to the present.

Costa, Alda. Arte e artistas em Moçambique: diferentes gerações e modernidades = Art and artists in Mozambique: different generations and variants of modernity. Maputo: Marimbique, 2014. 100pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (p. 67). Text in Portuguese and English. N7397.6.M6 C65 2014 AFA. OCLC 932023309

A welcome addition to the scant literature on Mozambican art in the 20th and 21st centuries, Alda Costa’s book covers the early modernists of the colonial period and the contemporary artists of the independence period. Their story is intertwined with the politics and culture of Mozambique through the 20th century—from the colonial period, to independence, to civil war, then peace. Among the earlier modernists, Malangatana towers over others. The younger generation with the benefit of a global art world are reaching out further and gaining greater exposure. They have expanded their media—more installations and photography. Alda’s history of art in Mozambique is well written and is followed by thirty-two pages of illustrations.

Descoberta: Concurso Nacional de Artes Plásticas, setembro de 1995, Maputo, Moçambique. [Maputo: Casa da Cultura do Alto-Mae, 1995]. 66pp. illus. (color). qN7397.M6D47 1995 AFA. OCLC 40520179.

The initiative of the Casa da Cultura do Alto Mae in Maputo to organize a national art exhibition was a welcome opportunity to expose a wide range of talented artists. Around one hundred artists were selected and are each represented in this catalog with one or two works and brief biographical information. Malangatana and Albert Chissano, the best known Mozambican artists, lead off, but the majority belong to the younger generation -- born in the 1960s and 1970s. Painting predominates, but there are also wood sculptures and prints.

Exposição Anual MUSART (1997 : Maputo, Mozambique). Exposição Anual MUSART TDM’97: catálogo. Maputo, Mozambique: Museu Nacional de Arte, 1997. 109pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color). N7397.M6E97 1997 AFA. OCLC 44804607.

The annual art competition in Mozambique, now known as the MUSART-TDM, drew an impressive number of submissions in 1997. Upwards of ninety artists participated, most of whom were young artists in their 20s and 30s. One work of each is illustrated in this catalog. Two winners were selected in four categories: painting, drawing, sculpture, and other media. Tributes are also paid to masters Malangatana, Naftal Langa, and Naguib.

Exposições de artes plásticas de Moçambique (1998: Lisbon, Portugal). Artistas de Moçambique. Exposições de artes plásticas de Moçambique para a Expo '98 / curated by Miguel Mkaina. 118 pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color). N7397.6 M6E97 1998. AFA. OCLC 50006282.

This exhibition of Mozambican art was hosted at the Museu da Electricidade in Lisbon June 26-July 26, 1998, concurrent with the Lisbon World Expo of 1998. Curated by Miguel Mkaina, director of the Museu Nacional de Arte de Mozambique. Room One featured thirteen top artists of Mozambique at the time: Malangatana Valente Ngwenya; Alberto Chissano; Bertina Lopes; Eugenio Lemos; Reinata Sadimba; Samate Mulungo; Estevão Mucavele; Celestino Tomás; Elias Adbala Naguib; Victor Sousa; Shikani; Ídasse; and Naftal Langa. Room Two contains a collection of works by 27 up-and-coming artists.

Images of a revolution: mural art in Mozambique / text by Albie Sachs; photographs by Moira Forjas and Susan Maiselas. Harare: Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1983. [88]pp. chiefly illus. (color). ND2866.6.M614 1983X AFA. OCLC 10779814.

The murals of Maputo flowed from the hands of many painters, some amateur volunteers, a few, skilled professionals, like Malagantana and Mankeu. Following independence in 1975, these murals began appearing on walls of Maputo buildings. Although not planned projects, people's art of this sort is encouraged by the FRELIMO government. One of the most dramatic is that at Heroes' Circle, a mural ninety-five meters long and six meters high. The color photographs in this slim book show details and sections of some of these urban murals.

Mozambico: arte di un popolo; exhibition held at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, September 25-October 8, 1986 / curated by Egidio Cossa. Roma: Palazzo Venezia, 1986. 86pp., 9pp. of plates. illus. (pt. color), bibliogs. N7397.6.M6M93 1986 AFA. OCLC 17056614.

In a major exposition of art from Mozambique, these photographs and essays feature both old and new Makonde masks and figures; a separate section of color reproductions of works by modern Mozambican painters (Malangatana, Chissano and others).

Outras plasti cidades: Reinata, Ricardo Rangel, Matias Ntundo, Valingue, Idasse, Muando. Lisbon: Instituto Camöes, Praça Marquês de Pombat, 1999. 154pp. illus. (pt. Color). N7397.6.M6O98 1999 AFA. OCLC 48793576.

With independence in 1975, Mozambican artists entered a new phase in this very impoverished nation with government taking positive steps to promote national culture. António Sopa offers an informative essay surveying this post-independence period of arts in Mozambique as the backdrop for the main catalog. Seven Mozambican artists representing a cross-section of contemporary Mozambican art feature in this 1999 catalog. The seven are: Reinata Sadhimba, ceramic sculptor, Ricard Rangel, photojournalist, Matias Ntundo, printmaker, Miguel Valingue, sculptor, Idasse, sculptor, Domingos Muando, sculptor, and Ndlozy, sculptor.

Percursos e olhares: uma introdução à arte em Moçambique. Maputo: EPM-CELP, 2008. 120pp. chiefly illus. (color), color portraits, bibl. refs. (p. 120). N7397.6.M6P47 2008 AFA. OCLC 317846420.

Twenty-five Mozambican artists featured in this 2008 exhibition in Maputo: Bertina Lopes, Naftal Langa, Jacob Estevão, Mankew, Chissano, Shikani, Malangatana, Noel Langa, Samate, Chichorro, Reinata, Matias Ntundu, Víctor Sousa, Ídasse, Naguib, Muando, Vânia Lemos, Luís Cardoso, Gemuce, Ndlozy, Jorge Dias, Carmen, Mabunda, Anésia, and Walter. Alda Costa surveys 20th century art in Mozambique in his overview essay


Salström, Berit and António Sopa. Catálogo, cartazes: catalogue, posters. [Maputo]: Arquivo Historico de Mocambique, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, [1988]. 112pp. illus. (pt. color). Text in Portuguese and English. qNC1807.M85S17 1988 AFA. OCLC 23120042.

The art of the poster has a lively and active history in the Mozambican revolution both before and after independence. As in other socialist countries, posters are used as vehicles for rallying and mobilizing the masses. But the posters in the collection of the Arquivo Historico in Maputo go beyond the usual didactic and political themes of struggle and solidarity; they include posters with cultural and educational themes. Some of Mozambique's artists have turned their hands to creating posters. See also the Tanzania section below for references on Makonde sculpture.