Making art out of war

By Rahmi Umut Küçüktetik

Weapons are not only a tool which many people use to destroy the lives of others, since one man in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, thinks differently. Goncalo Mabunda is an acclaimed sculptor who managed to create art from such tools that many use to take the lives of others. In his workshop located in Maputo, he uses AK-47s, landmines, rocket launchers, soldier boots, helmets and even some parts of tanks in order to create masks, thrones and figures.

Mabunda told CNN that “he is trying to represent each person who died with this same material”. He also told the news organization that “if we destroy these weapons, they will cause no harm to anybody”. Mabunda who is a full-time artist also said that his earlier works were characterized by insecurity as he was uncertain how long his country’s fragile peace would last. He is known for his thrones which he makes out of twisted metal parts of guns which symbolize the power held by the people using the gun. He also in a cheeky manner states that “if you are a soldier and you fight all day, you will need a place to rest”.

His work was shown at a recent exhibition in London and the feedback was amazing by the few that saw his works. The owner of the host gallery, Jack Bell, noted that Mabunda’s creations both pay respect to traditional African art as well as showing some strong connections to modern and contemporary art.

Mabunda hopes that some of his newer artworks, which he creates far away from the western world, will have an even bigger impact in some of the exhibitions he wishes to send his work to in Paris, Tokyo and Dusseldorf. His final wish is that his work will help the younger generation in Mozambique grow up to a better future far away from the shadow of conflict.

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