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Alberto Chissano photo Alberto CHISSANO, 1934- 1994

Now recognised internationally, the sculptor Alberto Chissano only started carving when he was 29. Before that, his life followed the normal course of any Mozambican peasant child. Herding animals as a child, virtually no formal education and then leaving for the city while still very young. There, work as a domestic servant or a cook, followed by a try at the adventure of South African mines.

Alberto Chissano' s story only took a more individual turn when he returned from South Africa. After completing the military service in the portuguese armed forces, Chissano got a job as a cleaner in an artistic association, the "Núcleo de Arte". Stimulated by what he saw there, and with the support of some of the more experienced artists, he set to work and held his first one-man exhibition in 1964. From then on, he lever looked back.

Chissano normally worked in wood, although sometimes also with stone and iron. In the words of Alessandro Zuccari, Chissano 's work is "not the product of a totally empirical and artesanal treatment, but stems from a capacity for creative synthesis which makes a conscious use of artist 's techniques and inventiveness". He considers him "an eloquent example of the dialectic exchange between African and European cultures", which gives his works their power and expressivity.

This strength, this ability to give life to inert logs, is the reason for the many prizes he has received, from the Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) Town Council's First Prize in sculpture in 1966, to the first and second prizes in Jugoslavia in 1981.

Chissano died in 1994 in Mozambique.

source: "Expo 92: 9 artistas de Moçambique"

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