CityX - Eu, Maputo
Art project 2018-2019, Maputo, capital of Mozambique
Thanks to the commitment of Manuela Soeiro, Director of the Teatro Avenida in Maputo and through support of the German Embassy and of the German and French Mozambican Cultural Institutes as well, the first CityX Project on the African continent was launched in 2018.
From July 24th to August 3rd, 2018, the population in the capital of Mozambique was asked to create drawings for „CityX - Eu, Maputo“, to reflect their impressions. These drawings were collected and after an analysis of all pictures, Doris Graf spent the following months working out the towncape presented in the catalogue.
On many drawings, you can admire the sunny sides of the green, seaside town: The new „Katembe“ bridge, views of ships, sea animals, the palm-fringed beach („On the Beach“) - nature in its entirety („I LOVE“). Some drawings place a stronger focus on the urbanity of the city, for example the „Costa do Sol“ with its shopping possibilities and hotel complexes or, like in „Modern Rural Life“, where original, rural forms of life meet modern, western lifestyles. It is very noteworthy that there are numerous motifs of working women („Working Woman“). On the other hand, you can see men in connection with excessive alcohol consumption („dirty slob“) or how they behave violently towards women. In comparison to other townscapes, you will find numerous, nearly graphic depictions of streets, crossroads and roundabouts - adopted by the artist in several pictographic motifs („Informal Market“). Many images reveal that people have a deeply rooted pride in their city and country; in fact, the flag itself is frequently placed in the middle of the picture; so the towncape is often dominated by a colour scale that matches the colours of the Mozambican flag. This pride also refers to the country’s cultural traditions - dance, theatre, music - which is reflected in Graf’s work „Culture“. A strong historical awareness can be seen in the drawings of the monumental statue at the Praça da Independência, dedicated to Samora Moisés Machel („Heroes in the City“). Critical statements, such as social inequality („Disproportion“), corruption („Nepotism and Cronyism“), violence („Violence“), unequal educational opportunities („Escolas“), environmental pollution („Dirty Slob“), and also the dilapidated public transport system („My Love“), have also been implemented by the artist in her paintings. Due to the inadequate sewage system, floods often occur in poorer urban districts. This phenomenon, exemplary for the precarious living situation of many people in Maputo, formed the theme for Doris Graf’s artwork „Temporary Living“.