The visiting Mozambican ceramicist Mapfara emerged last night for the opening of his first exhibition in Melbourne. Mapfara had been here on a Commonwealth Fellowship and had managed to settle himself in a foreign city, with a foreign language and make work in a little over three months – largely thanks to an indefatigable openness to whatever this strange place might offer. He was also helped by a very welcoming ceramics community. He’s pictured at the opening here with Anne Ferguson from Easy Street Studios who shared a bench with Mapfara and helped him with materials.
Mapfara’s work is a largely personal celebration of life force. In rough English, he describes it as ‘bestial’. It’s hard to know whether his creatures are made of one or two beings. They are definitely sexual, perhaps hermaphroditic. Apparently his forms have loosened a little since being in Melbourne. Hard to think that’s an influence of Melbourne, but perhaps Mapfara became a little more Mozambican while he was here.
Made in Mozambique – Ho Gan Gallery 210 Smith Street, Collingwood; 15-29 January 2009.