Mozambican artist Nelson Augusto Carlos Ferreira is noted for his unique style of art of finding cultural expressions in recycled collections from the streets or backyards. He gives an artistic touch of beauty to objects ranging from old doors to abandoned railway lines that many would not have any use for.
Like the artist who sees beauty in ashes, Pekiwa brings out the cultural relevance of these objects to the public. He does this by picking his raw materials from the coasts of Mozambique following extensive years of research into wood and its associated objects, according to Tela.
According to him, he takes his inspiration from the Island region which provides him ample perspectives to sculpt. But, the main inspiration behind his art was his father, Govane. He was born on January 30, 1977. His love for sculpturing began when he was a child by observing the work of his father, though it wasn’t a path Govane wanted his son to take.
His artistic name Pekiwa does not have an origin. He formulated it following the inspiration he had from different sounds he picked from objects. Pekiwa does not run out of ideas on how to explain the social realities around him. If it is an old boat he finds, he capitalizes on its reality to share its place in the culture and life of Mozambican fishermen.
He said he does not wish to destroy the original meaning embedded in the recycled objects he picks for his art. Irrespective of how difficult it may appear, he maintains the original elements that make the object what it is. He believes an object must not necessarily lose its very essence because of the art a sculptor sees in it.
Author Amy Schwartzott, in the journal ‘Looking forward towards peace by remembering the past: Recycling war and lived histories in contemporary Mozambican art’ said Pekiwa has always maintained the meaning of an object must not be lost because of art.
She said the goal of Pekiwa is to build a social meaning out of the recycled object in his world of art. His art doesn’t destroy the life of the object, it rather attempts to preserve it for generations yet unborn. Pekiwa is among the few young sculptors who are challenging the status quo of how art should be perceived while maintaining their right to express themselves artistically.
The conditions for support of artistic production are far from ideal for this new era that is dawning. Another author and researcher, Alda Costa, who published a paper titled ‘Artists of Mozambique’ said the products of arts being observed in modern times have undergone various processes of diversity.
She indicated that state actors must be willing to provide the right ecosystem for artists to enable them to project the cultural messages they preach. She observed that state support for artists in Mozambique has been woefully inadequate, blaming it on the existing policies in place. She pointed out that the only relevant support system in place are spaces for exhibitions for artists in parts of the country.