Malangatana Ngwenya

Malangatana Ngwenya full names Valente Ngwenya Malangatana was born on 6th June 1936 was a Mozambican African contemporary  painter and poet. Malangatana Ngwenya frequently exhibited work under just his first name alone, Malangatana! He died on 5th January 2011 in Matosinhos, Portugal aged 74 years.

Malangatana Ngwenya was one of the few African artists to gain substantial worldwide recognition while still staying in Africa. He possessed an international profile that was enhanced by an expansive personality. He had cosmopolitan taste with a vast and wide knowledge of global art. He was a born performer who composed music, sang songs in five languages and periodically broke into spontaneous dancing.

He was a founding member of the Mozambique Peace Movement and served as a representative to parliament from 1990 to 1994. He was instrumental in establishing the National Museum of Art of Mozambique in Maputo, the capital, and undertook several large public mural projects. He established cultural programs in his home village, and taught art to children in his home. Malangatana ‘s works have always projected a bold vision of life where there is a communion between human, animal and plant life. He draws on his indigenous heritage whilst simultaneously embracing symbols of modernity and “progress”, synthesis of art and politics. Recognition of his stature is implicit in the statement made by UNESCO’s Director-General Federico Mayor when he presented the UNESCO award for UNESCO Artist for peace in 1997.

Selected Exhibitions
1959 – Group Exhibition, Maputo, Mozambique
1961 – One Man Exhibition – Associação dos Organismos Económios, Maputo, Mozambique
1972 – One Man Exhibition – Galeria Bucholz, Lisbon, Portugal – Solo Exhibition – Sociedade Nacional de Belas Arts, Lisbon, Portugal
1986 – “25 Years of painting” – National Arts Museum, Maputo, Mozambique- “25 Years of painting” – Palais Palffy, Vienna, Austria
1989 – “25 Years of painting” – Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon, Portugal

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