Malangatana Ngwenya

Malangatana Valente Ngwenya (b. 6 June 1936 – 5 January 2011, Mozambique) commonly known as Malangatana — a painter and poet, developed his unique painting style early in his career. An aesthetic defined by an allegorical approach to painting a dense assembly of figures; fictional depictions of animals, humans, and supernatural creatures in a palette of both bright and dark colors.


A Portuguese colony until 1975 —the changes in Mozambique’s political history during the 1960s and 1970s significantly impacted Malangatana’s life and oeuvre. His work embodies the new artistic vocabularies that arose in Mozambique in tandem with the struggle for a liberated nation. Visiting themes of conflict, injustices of colonial rule, religious tension and liberation in his homeland – internationally acclaimed Malangatana was a pioneer of African modernism.  Today, his works offer insights into the perpetuating process of decolonization.