Thanks to support from National Heritage Lottery Fund, The Africa Centre will be delivering a 12-month programme of activities to celebrate the life and legacy of late Mozambican visual artist, poet, and activist, Malangatana Valente Ngwenya (1936 – 2011). The renowned artist had a special connection to The Africa Centre. During a visit in 1987, he painted a striking untitled mural on the wall of a curved staircase in our previous home in Covent Garden, London. The mural has since been restored and reinstalled in the Centre's new HQ in Southwark, London which opened in June 2022.

About Malangatana

Malangatana was a prominent multidisciplinary artist, whose practice spanned over 50 years. Widely recognised for his contributions to African art and heritage, he often incorporated traditional themes and motifs into his works. Throughout his career, Malangatana created a diverse body of work that ranged from abstract and expressionistic paintings to colourful tapestries and murals. His pieces often reflected his political and social activism, advocating for the liberation of Mozambique from colonialism and the promotion of African unity and identity.

Malangatana was a regular visitor and participant in the Centre’s programmes with his work often exhibited in the gallery. The Centre also supported his advocacy efforts and worked with him to raise awareness about the social and political issues affecting Mozambique and the wider African continent.

The Malangatana Heritage Programme is an opportunity to connect this historical piece and the artist’s legacy to the Centre’s present to engage past and new audiences through a series of activities.

Curated by Haja Fanta

The programme is curated by Haja Fanta, a London-based curator, writer, and researcher originating from Sierra Leone. She works with artists and institutions to deliver a range of visual art exhibitions, projects, and programmes. She focuses on artistic and cultural production from Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone and is particularly interested in building creative connections between those cultures and the broader diaspora.

Programme of activities

Sankofa Sessions

We're excited to embrace the spirit of Sankofa - looking back to move forward. This Akan concept reminds us that by learning from the past, we can build a better future. We'll be bringing this ethos to life through a series of events that celebrate African culture and identity. From our supper club to open mic night, and from a celebration of Lusophone Africa to our film night, each event is designed to explore the themes of resistance, history, memory, social justice, and more.

Street Art Workshops

Malangatana led art workshops based on his Escola Vamos Brincar (Let’s Play School), a project for street children in the Mozambican capital, Maputo. He encouraged participants to draw and experiment with found objects. His multimedia works made in London, such as The Eyes of the World (the backdrop for the World Stage at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988) and Requiem for Samora Machel (presented to the people of Southwark the same year) are evidence of his multifaceted approach to art and his adventurousness with materials.

Legacy Sessions

A series of talks and activities that draw inspiration from Malangatana's legacy. These events are specially designed for young people (11-16) of African and Caribbean heritage and are aimed at fostering meaningful discussions around important topics such as social justice, activism, resistance, and more. Using Malangatana as the foundation for these activities, we believe that these events have the potential to inspire positive change and empower young people to make a difference in their communities. 

Art for Resistance workshops

We'll deliver workshops led by a dynamic lineup of talented artists. These workshops are designed for young people of African and Caribbean heritage (14-18) who are passionate about using art as a tool for social change. Participants will explore how their artistic skills and vision can help bring about a better world.

**Dates and ticket information will be confirmed soon.

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