Gonçalo Mabunda, The Throne of the World, 2016, Decommissioned arms, 89 x 66 x 133 cm. Courtesy Jack Bell Gallery
Gonçalo Mabunda, The Throne of the World, 2016, Decommissioned arms, 89 x 66 x 133 cm. Courtesy Jack Bell Gallery  

Gonçalo Mabunda is interested in the collective memory of his country, Mozambique: a country whose long and terrible Civil War remains ingrained in the memories of its inhabitants. In his sculptures he gives anthropomorphic form to AK47s, rocket launchers, pistols and other objects of destruction, weapons that were recovered in 1992 at the end of a fifteen-year conflict that divided the region. The deactivated weapons carry strong political connotations, and yet the beautiful compositions he creates also convey a positive reflection on the transformative power of art and the resilience and creativity of African civilian societies.

Mabunda’s work was included in the 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2015) and Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design (2015–19: Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; CCCB Barcelona; Kunsthal Rotterdam and Blanton Museum of Art, Austin).