ARTIST:

Mário Macilau

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Mário Macilau
Purification of the Soul (The Zionist series), 2010
Print on cotton rag paper
120 x 80 cm

Mário Macilau’s ambitious path towards becoming a social documentary photographer began with a symbolically charged instance. At the age of fourteen, while walking down Vladimir Lenin Avenue in Maputo he shot his first image with a borrowed camera, capturing a woman selling cassava in a street market. From that site, marked by the name of a political leader whose revolution was imported to Africa, his personal utopia took him to travel the world as a professional photographer. The artist’s photographs, which unveil the human condition under the oppression of injustice and the hardship of poverty, have been exhibited internationally.

Mário Macilau
Children of Jesus (The Zionist series), 2010
Print on cotton rag paper
120 x 80 cm

Macilau embarks in long standing thematic essays, constructing a narrative that, by means of a certain epic realism, produces ambivalent images of arresting power, as they are simultaneously crude and beautiful, mesmerizing and heartbreaking.
His subject matter is found in African living conditions, social imbalance, environmental disaster and waste, all issues that overwhelm daily life in his city of birth, Maputo, where he continues to live.

Mário Macilau
My Toy (The Zionist series), 2010
Print on cotton rag paper
120 x 80 cm

Sharing concern with many of his contemporaries, the artist’s labour series comprising of images of hard working conditions in cement plants or dump sites of Nairobi and Maputo, proposes a fresh approach to the burning issue of alternative economies, which is at the center of contemporary socio-economic debates.

Mário Macilau
Peace (The Zionist series), 2010
Print on cotton rag paper
120 x 80 cm

As in the film City of God, where a young photographer strives to record the beauty and terror of his environment and attempts to make a career to soothe the dystopia of underdevelopment, Mário Macilau is a vivid example of resilience and vision amid turbulent waters.

Text © Gabriela Salgado

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