The sign over the entrance to the arts gallery

Núcleo de Arte is an old institution in Maputo. It is an important cultural and artists’ centre in the city. It is a collective for artists under the name of Associação Núcleo de Arte. It is the oldest collective of artists in Mozambique. Seated in an old villa in the center of Maputo the Núcleo has played a significant role in metropolitan cultural life for decades. Over one hundred painters, sculptors and ceramists are members of the Núcleo, which regularly stages exhibitions on its own premises and over the last few years has actively participated in exchanges with artists from abroad.

Art from weapons after the War.

The Núcleo became well known for their project transforming arms into tools and objects of art. It played an important role for reconciliation after the war in Mozambique. The Peace Agreement in Mozambique, signed on 4th October 1992, marked the end to sixteen years of civil war. During the years after the war ended artists in Núcleo got involved in an extraordinary project. In workshops, members made works of art out of AK 47 machine guns, landmines and hand weapons.

Invincible optimism, resilience and confidence in human capacity take shape in the sculptures. The war tools provided inspiration for the creation of sometimes fragile and elegant, sometimes robust sculptures with the messages: Wars can be overcome. Reconciliation is possible.

Every day it is inspiring to go to Núcleo to chat with the artists, drink a simple ‘clara’ (or preta) and just enjoy the confectionary for the eyes. But on Sunday evenings the place becomes transformed into the coolest club in town. They always stage bands, both local or from Mozambique and sometimes from outside. It seems that it does not matter what the other places do they can never reach the level of cool that Núcleo has. The scene on Sunday evenings is very casual, starts early and usually is over by 22:00. This is completely different to other music or party events that normally get going around 23:00 and go on into the early mornings. This makes the Sunday evenings nice since there is less desperation to party and party but to meet up with friends and enjoy the music. In Maputo this is my favourite venue, both on Sundays and also during the day when one can just walk in and talk to the artists or just take a voyeur tour to see the art being made. Here is a little photo album from Núcleo.

Nucleo hidden behind a fence and normal street. On the left of the photo is the arts space that houses exhibitions and on the right under the corrugated roof is the canteen, the bar, the stage and the artists studios.

April 25, 2011  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: AFRICA, ART, DESIGN, ISAC - KHiO, MOZAMBIQUE, MUSIC