- Place where the work was made
- Media category
- Materials used
- linocut on paper
- 34.0 x 40.0 cm blockmark; 43.0 x 61.0 cm sheet
- Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pencil "John Muafangejo 1974".
- Purchased 2021
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © John Muafangejo
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Born in 1943 near the Kunene River in southern Angola and educated at various mission schools in northern Namibia, Muafangejo studied printmaking at the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) Art and Craft Centre at Rorke’s Drift in KwaZulu-Natal in 1968-69. Mentored by Azaria Mbatha, Muafangejo skilfully used linocut – a relief printing method noted for its flatness and shallow depth-of-field – to produce richly autobiographical images as well as narrative works invested with social and religious themes.
Muafangejo’s detailed compositions knitting together diverse figures and text passages into striking pictographic scenes quickly garnered the artist international recognition. In 1969, while still a student at Rorke’s Drift, Muafangejo, together with Dumile Feni and Sydney Kumalo, participated in the exhibition Contemporary African Art at the Camden Arts Centre, London. It marked the start of a distinguished career. The influential British art critic Edward Lucie-Smith in 1983 described Muafangejo as “consistently the best of all the modern masters” of his medium and “a printmaker of world class”.
Muafangejo was also feted in South Africa. He became the second artist after Robert Hodgins to receive the guest artist award at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in 1988. That same year his linocut Lonely Man, Man of Man (1974) appeared in Stephen Sack’s landmark exhibition The Neglected Tradition: Towards a New History of South African Art (1930–1988) at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. The artist’s sudden death from a heart attack in late 1987, at age 44, cut short a fluorescent career.