Mabunda – Dare Voce – 2005

Thirty works make up the body of Goncalo Mabunda’s exhibition. These not only attract us by the uniqueness of the shapes, but once we stand still, they make us think.

The forms are anthropomorphic, strange and funny puppets, fanciful animals, creatures landed from another galaxy, all seeming to be immersed in an atmosphere of ‘The Day After’. These works all possess the double quality of oxymorons, i.e. each appears in open contrast to itself: on the one hand they are comic and cheerful, on the other hand sad and fierce.

This dissonant double register is the result of both the events that overwhelm the works, but also of the author’s desire to give a voice to those who do not have one. The history of Mozambique devastated by 15 years of civil war has brought up several desperate generations, without childhood, without drinking water, without…, without…, without…, but full of weapons. A terrible memory, which it would be preferable not to have. We all know that it is impossible to evade memories, but that, instead, it is healthy to face it and try to work on it, so that it becomes defenceless, even if it will never be innocent, so that it becomes inoffensive, even if it will never be able to return what it has taken, but at least make it so that it no longer takes and that it returns what only it can, which is not to forget, in the absolute torpor of hatred, in order to take the only path towards the future.

Ivan Barlafante’s installation “I Love You” captures and returns that emotion. The sound that emerges from his work is mixed, corresponding to a breath and a pulsating heart, the vibration of which moves the sand, making the material alive and pulsating, in a slow but incessant movement that evokes life. Love, as a feeling, does not possess a universal and recognisable face, but has the strength of all the faces in the world, loved by every single individual; those sounds and that movement, staged by Barlafante, well represent the strength and imperishable universality of this feeling so strong and necessary to the life of all of us.