We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Zulu Land



John Muafangejo

Angola, Namibia

1943 – 1987

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    South Africa
    Media category
    Materials used
    linocut on paper
    46.0 x 68.5 cm blockmark; 56.0 x 86.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.c., pencil "John Muafangejo 1974".

    Purchased 2021
    Grand Courts
    Accession number
    © John Muafangejo
    Artist information
    John Muafangejo

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by John Muafangejo