Mozambican artist, activist, lawmaker, Malangatana Ngwenya dies at 74

Posted on January 10, 2011 | No Comments

Malangatana Ngwenya, one of Africa’s best-known contemporary artists, whose phantasmagoric paintings were inspired by political conditions in his home country, Mozambique, died on Wednesday in Matosinhos, Portugal. He was 74. Mr. Ngwenya, a beloved national hero in Mozambique, was one of the few African artists to gain substantial worldwide recognition Ray Ban outlet while staying in Africa — an international profile that was enhanced by an expansive personality. Even after he took up art full time in 1981 and his fame grew, he remained a highly visible political and civic presence. 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. In 1997 he was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Simultaneously, he was writing poetry, a lifelong practice. His poems were was first published in 1963. At the time, when many African countries were struggling for independence from Europe, he also became politically active. After joining a nationalist guerrilla group called the Front for Liberation of Mozambique, known by the acronym Frelimo, he was arrested by the Portuguese military police and spent 18 months in jail. Excerpted from a New York Times article by Holland Cotter.


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