Mário Macilau: Faith: Rituals, Spirit & Sea

Mário Macilau: Faith: Rituals, Spirit & Sea

Running presently at Guns & Rain, Johannesburg is the exhibition Faith: Rituals, Spirit & Sea by Mozambican photographer Mário Macilau, his first solo show in Johannesburg, in collaboration with Ed Cross Fine Art London.

Based in Maputo, Macilau is an award-winning photographer whose long-term projects often focus on socially isolated groups and subcultures – activating subjects and their stories through a psychologically sensitive lens. Taking a critical view on identity, politics, and environmental conditions, Macilau views his artistic practice as a tool for social change. Angolan curator Paula Nascimento has described his work as lying “between documentary precision, anthropologic study and poetic interpretation”. Macilau’s Faith series explores indigenous religious practices in contemporary Mozambique – ranging from teaching to healing to rites of passage – founded on the belief that individual spirits and ancestors inhabit natural objects and phenomena. These practices reflect distinctly local yet diverse conceptions of God, the cosmos, and the supernatural – all ultimately seeking coherence, meaning, and connection. Faith is a salute to the power of traditions yet also an oblique condemnation of governments failing their people. Macilau began his journey as a photographer in 2003 on the streets of Maputo, becoming professional when he traded his mother’s cell phone for his first camera in 2007. He describes his work as a constant exploration of how humans sustain themselves in changing environments. Among his recent projects includes months documenting waste-pickers and electronic waste at the Hulene landfill outside Maputo, which led to a nomination for the 2016 Greenpeace Photo Award. Macilau has exhibited in dozens of international exhibitions, fairs and festivals, including the 2015 Venice Biennale. His last solo in South Africa took place at Blank Projects, Cape Town, in 2014. This is his first exhibition in Johannesburg.


Mário Macilau: Faith: Rituals, Spirit & Sea at Guns & Rain, Johannesburg runs until June 13, 2019.

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