The Tamar Golan Africa Centre is happy to present this guest lecture – Tuesday, 12/6/18, Seminar room -136 Senate Hall, Ben Gurion University.
Title: “Master Malangatana”: The End of Socialism and the Making of a National Artist in Mozambique
Abstract: The 1980s witnessed some of the most groundbreaking transformations in Africa. Marked by the collapse of apartheid and socialist regimes, the decade culminated with the end of the Cold War and laid the foundation across the continent for new economic policies supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This triumph of neoliberalism has had ongoing effects in contemporary African renditions of international politics, nationhood, subjectivity, and the arts. In Mozambique, which was governed by a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist regime from 1977 to 1989, the imminent end of socialism throughout the 80s meant a reconstruction of the national narrative in which the visual arts held a central role. The presentation will analyze the Mozambican artist Malangatana Valente Ngwenya, one of the most important modern African artists, whose fame emerged in the 1960s and reached its peak as a cult of personality at the end of the socialist moment. The manipulation of his representation during the nation’s transition to a neoliberal democracy reveals the shifting alliances of the state. If Malangatana was forced into obscurity during the first decade of the socialist regime, by the mid-80s the state actively sought to recast the artist as a historic figure and a national hero.