An OkayAfrica contributor revels in all things art and architecture in Maputo, Mozambique.
In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, our Accra-based contributor Hakeem Adam recently ventured to Mozambique for the first time and shares his experiences through stunning images.
Peaceful, calm, clean, positive energy are the words I've been using to describe my time in Maputo, Mozambique to basically anyone that would listen to me. The Portuguese-speaking Southern-African country was the first I have had the pleasure of visiting in that region and the visual, spiritual and mental experience has provided me with a much-needed contrast to my ideas of an African capital city in many ways.
The enchanting city moves at its own pace, a gentle and graceful saunter that calms and relaxes anyone who has become numb to the non-stop barrage of stress that is symptomatic of most capital cities. In Maputo, the air is clean and refreshing and the weather is mostly warm without it being sticky with humidity. Rather, the strong breeze from the Pacific Ocean keeps everything gentle as you get swaddled in Mozambican hospitality.
ColabNowNow, a 10-day artist residency organized by the British Council, #SouthernAfricaArts and Maputo Fast Forward ( a month-long festival centering the arts in Mozambique), was the reason for my being in Mozambique. The program brought together nine artists from West, East, Southern Africa and the UK to work collaboratively towards producing work with a digital focus. This offered me the opportunity to meet and interact with Mozambican artists as well as explore their studios and hubs.
Very quickly, you learn that art is one things that grounds the city of Maputo as the expression of their creativity is woven into the engineering of their daily lives—from the rich and colorful alchemy of European and tropical architecture lending the city an iconic look, to the amorous and ingénue community of artists, activists, curators and researchers who are actively engineering unique ways and spaces for their expression. Indeed, most of the artists we visited had all designed their homes as active exhibition spaces where their work and pieces from other artists in the same community embellish their living and working spaces.
As a visiting artist, Maputo was a much needed breath of the fresh air that is art from a hectic year. The architectural and design landscape of the city, as well as the mind-blowing work that is going on in the arts scene there were the two things that will forever stay with me.
However, my best description of my time there are highlighted by the images I took.