Amarildo Rungo brings his art from the periphery to downtown Maputo

The collaboration between the multidisciplinary artist Amarildo Rungo and the photographer Ildefonso Colaço provokes viewers to pay attention to neglected areas. It takes the visitor back in time to the memories of a daily life marked by the financial difficulties that affect most of the youth in our Maputos’s peripheral neighborhoods.

Amarildo Rungo is a multifaceted Mozambican artist, born in 1998 in Machava, one of Maputo’s peripheral neighborhoods. He began his career as an artist in 2013 with music and, later, in the plastic arts, with painting and drawing in 2015 after completing a program in the Visual Arts at the National School of Visual Arts (ENAV) in Maputo in 2020.

He has had several exhibitions, notably the collective ones: Expoética (Expoetic), at Maputo City Hall (2019); Convergência das Cores (Color Convergence), at Maputo City’s Casa da Cultura (2020); Diversidade Cultural (Cultural Diversity), at Maputo City’s Casa da Cultura (2021); Expo Crescente (Expo Rising) at Kulugwana (2021) and Corpo (R) Ação (Body Action) at Muend’Arte, Mafalala (2021).

Magias do pano is an individual exhibit that takes the visitor back in time to the memories of a daily life marked by the financial difficulties that affect most of the youth in our city’s peripheral neighborhoods. But it is a journey full of happiness and hope in transforming the social conditions of these youth, who look to soccer and are inspired by Mozambican soccer player Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (1964-2014), who left Mafalala’s ghetto for Portugal’s larger soccer clubs and is considered one of the best soccer players the world has ever had.

Rungo’s exhibition also included the participation of photographer Ildefonso Colaço, who contributed the images of the youths of the Mafalala neighborhood playing Xingufo. Colaço’s photographs are black and white and contrast with the colored cloth balls.

The main objective of this exhibition is to show that art also resides in “apparently forgotten” areas and to take the art of these areas to the city of Maputo’s major urban cultural centers. Accordingly, in addition to being synonymous with resistance, the exhibition is an act of courage, causing these experiences to be seen by Mozambican society in another way, from new angles.

The artist makes a provocation about the need to look to these rejected places and leads the public to reflect on how peripheral artists are formed from the cradle, what existing difficulties are in their midst, which end up serving as a catalyst for seeking new opportunities.

For Amarildo Rungo, “belonging to the periphery”, reaching the large art centers of the city and exhibiting artworks without having his identity questioned or denied is still a challenge. One of the challenges that the artist addresses is, if there are objections, where to look for spaces in which these artistic creations can be exhibited with dignity, without looking at where the artist comes from and valuing his creative process.

That is how Magias do pano became one of the exhibitions that captured the public and the media’s attention the most, for its daring and unique way of bringing the unknown side of the peripheral neighborhoods to the city center.


Magias do pano was on display at the Fernando Leito Couto Foundation (Avenida Kim II Sung Nr 961, Maputo, Mozambique), from April 27 to May 18, 2022.

This text is a result of the “C& Mentoring Program”, conducted in Mozambique under the guidance of mentor Miriane Peregrino.

Lorna Zita is cofounder of Elarte production, writer and spoken word artist based in Maputo, Mozambique. She collaborated on Digipoem in Zimbabwe and BBC Contains Strong Language in UK.

Translation: Sara Hanaburgh