John Ndevasia Muafangeo 1943 - 1987



‘I Was Lonelyness’
The Complete Graphic Works of John Muafangeo, 1968 – 1987

Compiled & edited by Orde Levinson, 1992
Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Published by Struik Publisher Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa

John Muafangeo, world famous for his exceptional linocuts, has received critical praise and international recognition.

Muafangeo’s legacy would be marred, however by the paradox of acceptance and interpretation of his work – naïve, ethnically oriented ‘Bantu’ art or expressionistic Namibian art of the liberation struggle, Ovambo history and Christianity.

He was born within an essentially custom-bound Kwanyama community in Ovamboland, Angola in 1943. In 1956 he entered Namibia – then Apartheid South West Africa - joined his mother’s family and received further education in the Anglican Mission community.

He showed such creative potential that he was awarded a bursary in 1968 to attend the famous Art & Craft Centre at Rorke’s Drift in Natal, in Apartheid South Africa. Here he learned how to apply his genius to the graphic medium and from then until his untimely death in 1987 in Windhoek he created innumerable artworks.

His work has become known worldwide through major exhibitions. He received numerous prizes and awards and his work has been recognized by museums and art historians.

Enlargement of his linocuts provided the backdrop for the Nelson Mandela concerts at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988 and 1990, seen by millions of television viewers around the world and his work Life Tree was used as the theme image for the Namibian independence celebrations in 1990, for which he was fighting through his art works and which he sadly could not experience.

A Good Shepherd | Linocut No 63/150 | 62cm x 42cm - 1974

A Kwanjama Wedding | Linocut No 92/150 | 35cm x 51cm - 1972

Giraffe in 1979 | Linocut No 88/150 | 30cm x 46cm - 1979

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