Gonçalo Mabunda Transforming the weapons of War

Gonçalo Mabunda [Mozambique]

Goncalo Mabunda Elegance Throne

[Image credit: ‘The Elegance Throne’ – Goncalo Mabunda]

I mentioned a little while back about the increasing trend for furniture as art amongst collectors and Gonçalo Mabunda’s often startling, furniture sculptures fit into that category. When I first saw the images of his ‘Chair’ series which has been a recurring theme of his for a while now, I was quite taken with how striking the forms where and equally intrigued with some of the titles such as ‘The Elegance Throne’, ‘Harmony Armchair’, Dream of the Children Armchair’ and ‘The Woman Throne’; titles which appear to contradict the hard scrap metal used. Gonçalo’s work is hauntingly powerful and I didn’t realise quite how much until I examined the images closer and then realised what I thought were mere scraps of metal were actually guns and other forms of weaponry. I was taken aback and thought the material quite controversial and was initially turned off. But then I could not dismiss his work outright without understanding why and having done so, now view his work in a different light. 

Fashioning guns, munitions, other weapons and scrap metal into chairs and other forms of sculpture, Gonçalo Mabunda’s work serves to recreate the horror’s of war but also aims to move past it by re-purposing the deactivated weapons. Weapons that were once stockpiled and hidden during the civil war that marked Mozambique, the country of his birth, and turning them into something more positive. With every intention of making political statements, the idea of the ‘Chair’ is based on the well-known images of the African Tribe Chair, and was inspired by the “Throne of Weapons” initiative; an initiative that encouraged citizens to hand in weaponry in exchange for productive tools such as sewing machines or bicycles. Gonçalo’s sculpture also looks at how difficult it is to dismantle the artifacts of war and violence, as unfortunately not all weapons have been handed in and therefore still pose a threat to people’s safety.

Goncalo Mabunda Man and Woman armchair

[Image credit: ‘The African Man’ Throne and ‘The Woman’ Throne – Goncalo Mabunda]

Despite using materials I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable displaying in my home or garden, I get the sentiment behind them and can see them working in a stylish living or office space – although I’m not sure if you could sit in one for very long, but they would make a strong statement. And with the issue of guns never far from global political agendas as seen with the recent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, USA; maybe these sculptures can force people to stop and think just that bit more.

Goncalo Mabunda Dream of the Children Armchair

[Image credit: ‘Dream of the Children’ Armchair – Goncalo Mabunda]

I don’t know if the daydream and enjoy sign off is entirely appropriate in this instant, maybe let’s dream of a better and safer future instead!

Additional information sourced from 3ringsAdditional Details:
Gonçalo Mabunda’s sculptures can be seen in international collections
To find out more about Gonçalo Mabunda visit: www.perimeter-artanddesign.com 

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