There is this small cooperative gallery in Maputo called Núcleo de Arte where local painters and sculptors exhibit their works on a rotating basis. Next to the gallery there is a small bar where the artists hang out and listen to Fela Kuti or Bob Marley; behind the gallery is an open-air workshop where people are free to paint or carve away at the precious tropical hardwoods Mozambique is so famous for.
I first discovered the Núcleo de Arte with my friend Tracy. Last year she bought several paintings by up-and-coming local artists, and I went along to keep her company and drool over all the beautiful works. I walked out of the gallery empty-handed but full of inspiration. Not only did I want to buy paintings, I wanted to create. It was an intoxicating feeling being around all that art, and in the company of someone who truly is an appreciator of aesthetics, color and texture.
Last week I dragged Rico to the Núcleo de Arte to pass time as we waited for the market to open for its post-siesta afternoon hours. Much to my surprise, Rico *loved* looking at all the paintings, and was just as excited as I was by all the beautiful art. There were several works in particular that caught our eye (thankfully we have similar taste in these matters), and on a whim we decided to put in an offer for a painting by an artist called Tsenane.
One of the nice things about acquiring art in Mozambique is that you can usually negotiate a bit regarding the price. We ended up getting a nice discount, made arrangements for payment to the aritst, and last weekend finally took our first piece of fine art home to hang in the living room.
Here we are posing in front of the new painting before attending the St. Patrick's Day formal gala on Saturday. Chique, no?
And here's a close-up of the painting, whose proper title is "Estandarte da Liberdade." Unfortuately it was overcast all day and I was unable to get a photo without flash. But you get the idea...
The painting is the perfect addition to our living room - it blends quite nicely with the terracotta accent wall and our earthy-colored throw pillows and cotton rug.
Today Rico and I took another trip to the Núcleo de Arte to make an offer on one of the other paintings that had caught our fancy during the visit last week. If all goes well, tomorrow we will be adding another painting to our home, this a bright red, yellow and green semi-abstract portayal of a bunch of tropical birds.
Oh, how I wish I had my brushes and oil paints here with me...I am inspired to be creative, and painting something seems like just the thing to do. Since I can't do a canvas painting, maybe this is the push forward we need to finally put some color on the walls in our bedroom. We already have a brown suede-finish paint...now all we need is a bit of time. :)