Gonçalo Mabunda was born in 1975 in Maputo, Mozambique two years before the intense civil war that would last several decades broke out. He creates sculptures with deactivated weapons from this war such as AK47s, rockets, land mines, shell casings and other objects of destruction. Forming these objects into anthropomorphic masks and figures, his art evokes classical Mozambican wood carvings and the elaborate masks that were used in traditional dances. His works also express several Modernist qualities, in the style of Braque and Picasso, where the figure becomes abstracted through a fragmentation of forms and shapes. His most recent and well-known sculpture series of Thrones, combine powerful tribal symbols and traditional pieces of African art with the strong political connotations embedded in the guns and bullets from which they are made. He transforms these vestiges of war and violence into beautiful and commanding artworks that show resiliency, growth, and the power of art.
Mabunda is internationally known and was voted as one of the Top Ten African Artists to Watch 2019 by Blouin Modern Painters. His works have been exhibited, among others, at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the European Parliament. He was the first Mozambican artist at the Venice Biennale and has shown yearly since 2015.
Mabunda currently lives and works in Maputo, Mozambique.