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EZEQUIEL MABOTE (article first published : 1999-06-19)

Currently one of the resident artists at the BAT Centre, 19 –year old Ezequiel Mabote from Mozambique started using clay as an artistic medium when he was a child by making images of cows. He picked up the basics of art theory and practice at Noroeste 1 Secondary School where he studied as far as Standard 8 but had to leave in order to find work to assist his family

In 1994 he started working with traditional textile designers and woodcarvers who helped him improve his skills but this newly-acquired knowledge only inspired Ezequiel to attend art classes at the Nucleo de Arte, a popular art centre in Maputo. Unfortunately he couldn’t afford the full-time student fees but he was allowed to attend art classes on a part-time basis, specialising in life drawing and woodcut printing.

Eventually, he was forced to leave his family and come to South Africa in order to generate more money to send home. His cousin Isaac Sithole was already working at the BAT Centre and encouraged him to make Durban his base. Ezequiel worked for a time at Farepark Market and occasionally would make his way to BAT to watch the resident artists at work. There he formed a friendship with Alberto Amarildo and another BAT resident artist, Samuel Natangwe Mbingilo. Under the latter’s guidance, Ezequeil perfected his techniques in the medium of woodcut and linocut printing

This is Ezequiel’s first solo exhibition. Titled Art in Memory, the pieces reflect stories told to him as a child by his grandparents about traditional life. ”These stories were told from generation to another and that is why they had a very strong influence on me,” he says. “To me this is the life that I cherish most when doing my work. I try to remind myself of those stories and depict them the way I see them in my mind. It is also important from my point of view to keep these memories alive through my work so that even the generations to come may enjoy my creative ability and my history.”

Ezequiel Mabote’s exhibition, Art in Memory runs until July 13 in the Intensive Care Café at the BAT Centre.


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