Angolan artist Guilherme Mampuya: from attorney to Turner?

By Chris Burns  & Dinamene Cruz
Angolan artist Guilherme Mampuya: from attorney to Turner?
Copyright  euronews   -  

Combining African motifs with the flourishes of Dali, Dubuffet, and Picasso, Angolan artist, Guilherme Mampuya, is living his dream after he quit his job as a lawyer.

Guilherme Mampuya, has established a distinctive style characterised by vibrant African colours, unique, intricate perspectives, and a truly Angolan character, becoming one of Africa’s most invigorating artists and most celebrated artists. 

A world away from the corporate life he left two decades ago, Guilherme splashes a riot of colours on the canvas in his studio. Combining African – and Angolan – motifs with those from the giants who inspired him, like Picasso and Dubuffet.

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Guilherme Mampuya in his galleryEuronews

"In 2002, I started working in a conventional job as a legal advisor for a company, but unfortunately that was the environment of neckties. It's not bad, but I saw other artists promoting exhibitions, that colourful world and I felt that this world exists in me." Explains Guilherme.

Mampuya’s world is expanding steadily. Already adorning the walls of galleries, cities and boardrooms – with big plans for a museum of Angolan art, and even hoping to decorate the control tower of the new airport in the capital Luanda. 

"… What I learned in law school was self-control, research, and logic. I think I put that in my art ...."<br><br>…which is probably why, though he left the boardrooms behind as a career, his work resonates in the corporate world..."
Guilherme Mampuya
Angolan Artist

Paulo Edra is an institutional advisor for the insurance company Fidelidade Angola, which is investing tens of thousands of euros in his work.

"We have already invested more than 20 million kwanzas with Guilherme. ...this is something he never thought about. With his enthusiasm as an artist, he was fascinated by a project to paint the seven natural wonders of Angola. And indeed, we have this collection at the company and they are fantastic." Explains Paulo. 

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Calandula Falls, plunging 100 metres on the Lucala River.Euronews

Included in the seven wonders of Angola is Calandula Falls, plunging 100 metres on the Lucala River. Another is the legendary Pedras Negras – or Black Rocks - where Angolan fighters resisted Portuguese colonial rule.

Talking about Guilherme Mampuya, in short, is talking about artistic eclecticism accompanied by high intellectual honesty. <br><br>It's also talking about humanism.
Carlos Baptista
Art Critic

Guilherme's work is admired around the world including in South Korea, Paris, Brazil, and Portugal. His combination of Western and African artistic styles contributed to his success.He also integrates the history of Angola in his work.

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Painting of legendary Pedras Negras, where Angolan fighters resisted Portuguese colonial rule.Euronews
The history of colonisation, slavery, the triangular trade. It was here. We were exposed. <br><br>Of course, when you are exposed, you receive all the influences, both negative and positive…. <br><br>I tried to express joy, peace, hope, faith, struggle, and faith in tomorrow.
Guilherme Mampuya
Angolan artist,

Guilherme has his own gallery and says it’s time to build a museum, with the works of other African artists.

"It's going to be a pantheon with all the great figures of Africa. We're talking about four hectares, there's already a space, everything is in motion." Explains Guilherme.

And why not make his mark on Angola’s new airport in Luanda? Making the control tower a beacon for Angolan art. "I want to paint the control tower. It is my dream. Toast the tourists arriving, that welcome look from Angola with that light, with our strength." Says Guilherme.

Having already realised so many of his dreams, you wouldn't bet against him achieving this one either!

Journalist • Richard Cadey