War throne metal and recycled weapons 89 x 107 x 55cm (35 1/16 x 42 1/8 x 21 5/8in)
Born in 1975, in Maputo, Mozambique, Gonçalo Mabunda grew up during the violent sixteen year civil war that divided his country. His sculptures are made from deactivated arms that had been stocked and hidden by civilians out of fear of a return of war.
His works give anthropomorphic and sculptural form to AK47s, rocket launchers, pistols and other objects of destruction, transforming them into both aesthetic objects and vehicles for political critique: his chairs and thrones often encase unexpected facial features (like those of the backrest of War throne) that bespeak the absurdity and human cost of the civil war.
Of his sculptures made from decommissioned weapons, the artist has said that these works are about "the taking of power through force, often by military leaders. I constructed [them] out of discarded, buried and rusted weapons used during the brutal cival war that gripped my country, Mozambique, from 1975 to 1992. A church sponsored program devised a project that collected guns and other armaments found by civilians and dismantled them, rendering them powerless. These defunct arms were then offered to artists for use in works that would have a 'positive' influence, thus opposing their former function of killing".
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Global Africa project, exhibition catalogue, (New York, 2010), p.229.