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Art Index: Gonçalo Mabunda

If we destroy the weapons, the same weapon’s not going to kill any more.”

Gonçalo Mabunda

Part of an art installation by Gonçalo Mabunda By Biser Todorov - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0


Gonçalo Mabunda was born on January 1, 1975 in Maputo, Mozambique. He is an artist and anti-war activist. Despite his childhood spent in a country devastated by civil war (1975-1991), Mabunda was able to attend schools in the capital of Mozambique (Maputo) - he started painting at the age of 17 and at the age of 22 he started working as a full-time artist. Gonçalo Mabunda uses Kalashnikovs, rockets, pistols, and shell casing in order to make anthropomorphic figures and masks and thrones with tribal reminiscences characteristic of the sub-Saharan culture out of the deconstructed weapons.

By turning weapons into lifelike figures, Mabunda literally turns death into life. The figurines are also representative of the over 1 million people killed during his country's civil war.

The beginning of this particular production is to be found in the government program called Transforming Guns Into Hopes, in which Mabunda had already participated since 1995. The aim of the project was to collect the weapons still extremely widespread in the territory marked by the civil war just ended, and to destroy it while the residual quantity was given to the artists, asking them to “transform” them in a creative way.

Some weapons were destroyed while others were deactivated and given to men and women like Mabunda, to sculpt into art. Some 800,000 weapons have been collected since the CCM launched this project, called Transforming Guns into Hopes.

Mabunda with Clinton

By Ashrefavira - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Mabunda has participated in various exhibitions by prestigious international institutions such as: the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris (2005); the Mori Museum in Tokyo (2006); the Guggenheim in Bilbao (2016); Royal Palace of Milan (2016); the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2018). His first presence at the Venice Biennale dates back to 2015, and in 2019 he was selected to represent Mozambique in the national pavilion. Internationally, he collaborates with the Jack Bell Gallery in London. Numerous international awards have been awarded to him for his commitment as an anti-war activist conveyed through his works.


According to, the oldest auction result ever registered on the website for an artwork by this artist is a sculpture-volume sold in 2012, at Compagnie Marocaine des Oeuvres & Objets d'Art, and the most recent auction result is a sculpture-volume sold in 2020.

Mabunda’s turnover in 2019 is $49,312 with the last peak in price dated 2018.

Most of his works were sold in the range of $1,000-$5,000.

Distribution by price (by Artprice)

Two art works by artist Gonçalo MABUNDA (1975) will soon be available in auction rooms.

These include Buffet, a furniture, metal, 115 x 110 x 70 cm with an estimate: $ 4,863 - $ 7,295 and Totem, sculpture-volume, metal, 179 x 60 x 27 cm with an estimate: $ 6,079 - $ 9,727, to be auctioned the 30th of Dec 2020 18h30 at Artcurial (S.V.V.) in Paris, France.


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