Pekiwa: The Mozambican Sculptor Who Sees Art In Discarded And Recycled Items

Image via Facebook/nucleo de art


Nelson Augusto Carlos Ferreira, a Mozambican artist, is known for his unique style of finding cultural expressions in recycled collections from the streets or backyards. He adds an artistic touch of beauty to objects ranging from old doors to abandoned railway lines that most people would discard.

Pekiwa, like the artist who sees beauty in ashes, draws attention to the cultural significance of these objects. According to Tela, he accomplishes this by sourcing his raw materials from the coasts of Mozambique after extensive years of research into wood and its associated objects.

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According to him, he draws inspiration from the Island region, which provides him with numerous opportunities to sculpt. His father, Govane, was the primary inspiration for his art. On January 30, 1977, he was born. His interest in sculpture began as a child while watching his father’s work, though it was not a path Govane wanted his son to take.


His artistic name, Pekiwa, has no known origin. He created it after being inspired by various sounds he picked up from objects. Pekiwa never runs out of ways to explain the social realities around him. If it is an old boat he finds, he capitalizes on its reality to share its place in the culture and life of Mozambican fishermen.

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He stated that he does not want to destroy the original meaning embedded in the recycled objects he chooses for his artwork. Regardless of how difficult it appears, he keeps the original elements that make the object what it is. He believes that an object’s essence should not be lost simply because a sculptor sees art in it.

In the journal ‘Looking forward to peace by remembering the past: Recycling war and lived histories in contemporary Mozambican art,’ author Amy Schwartzott stated that Pekiwa has always maintained that the meaning of an object must not be lost due to art.

She stated that Pekiwa’s goal in his artistic world is to create a social meaning out of recycled objects. His art does not endanger the life of the object, but rather attempts to preserve it for future generations. Pekiwa is one of the few young sculptors who are challenging the status quo of how art should be perceived while retaining their artistic freedom.

The conditions for supporting artistic production are far from ideal for this new era. Another author and researcher, Alda Costa, who published a paper titled ‘Artists of Mozambique,’ stated that the contemporary arts products have undergone various processes of diversity.

She stated that state actors must be willing to create the right environment for artists to project the cultural messages they preach. She observed that the government’s support for artists in Mozambique has been woefully inadequate, blaming it on existing policies. She stated that the only relevant support system in place is exhibition spaces for artists in various parts of the country.



Written by How Africa News

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