Goncalo Mabunda: The Chronicler’s Throne

The Chronicler’s Throne is a solo exhibition by the Southern African artist and anti-war activist Gonçalo Mabunda, which drawing on the collective memory of his country, which only recently emerged from a long and horrific civil war. The weapons he used were recovered at the end of the 16-year conflict that divided the region in 1992.

In his sculptures, he gave anthropomorphic forms to AK47s, rocket launchers, pistols and other destructive objects. While the masks arguably draw on the history of local traditional African art, his work takes on a striking modernist edge, similar to the images of Braque and Picasso. Discontinued weapons of war carry strong political connotations, but the beautiful objects he creates also convey a positive reflection on the transformative power of art and the resilience and creativity of African civilian society.

The artist is known for his throne. According to the artist, the throne is an attribute of power, a tribal symbol and a work of traditional African ethnic art. No doubt they are a satirical way of commenting on his childhood experiences of violence and absurdity and the Mozambique civil war that has long isolated his country.

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