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EZEQUIEL AT BAT (article first published : 2004-01-26)

Ezequeil Mabote, one of the BAT Centre’s resident artists, recently returned from the United States where he has been living for the past year. During this time he exhibited in various galleries in Bronx, New York, Washington Park and Chicago.

This multi-skilled artist is represented in private collections in Africa, Europe, Asia and the USA. He specialises in coloured woodcut printmaking, painting, sculpture and Batik and bookbinding.

Born in Mozambique in 1979, Mabote received his early training in art in secondary school then advanced to the famous Nucleo de Arte centre in Maputo. This is where he was equipped with life drawing and woodcut printing skills and he strove diligently to improve these techniques.

While in Mozambique he learnt much by observing textile workers, designers and local wood carvers. When he came to South Africa, he settled at the BAT Centre as one of the Residence Artists where he was highly influenced by Samuel Natangwe Mbingilo, a woodcut artist from the John Maufangejo Art Centre in Namibia. He was also offered another Residency Programme by Caversham Press in Pietermaritzburg – where he acquired his skills as a bookbinder and his woodcut printing skills were put into use.

Together with six other artists, Ezequiel Mabote was awarded the Ithunga Fine Art Award for collaboration in a 2001 art calendar.

Since his arrival in South Africa, he has held numerous exhibitions. Art In Memory at the Intensive Café at the BAT Centre was among his early exhibitions, followed by Value of African Tradition at the Democratic Gallery (BAT Centre) in 1999. Art Of My Life was a series of intercity exhibitions in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban for the Alliance Francaise while the Ithunga Artist Calendar exhibition took place at the Durban Art Gallery. During his stay in the US, An Evening With Ezequiel Mabote was held at Washington Park in Chicago and at the Bronx Community in New York.

A perfectionist, Ezequiel is careful and efficient in the production of his craft. His images largely reflect childhood memories and illustrate traditional folk tales and family stories told by his grandparents. Apart from Portuguese, he speaks English, Spanish, Shangaan and IsiZulu.

The latest works of Ezequiel Mabote will be on exhibition at the BAT Centre’s Menzi Mcunu Art Gallery from February 5 at 18h00 until March 6.




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