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Mário Macilau (b. 1984, Mozambique) lives and works in Maputo.


Macilau is a multi-disciplinary artist most known for his photography. He started his photographic journey in 2003, and went professional after he traded his mother’s cellphone for his first camera in 2007. He specialises in long-term projects that link to multiple sub-genres; identity, political issues, environmental conditions, and engagement with socially isolated groups. Macilau is committed to initiating positive change across different cultures, locations, and perspectives. Taking portraiture as a point of departure, intimacy becomes the key to unlocking broader perspectives or narratives. The way Macilau shoots is crucial for rich compositions (black and white, with muted tones and textures), and he uses depth of field and natural light - sometimes resulting in dark black or underexposed background - to achieve a nuanced and poetic atmosphere in his images.


Macilau has been involved in many collaborative and educational projects. He is also an activist with Walking Together (WT), a project for children’s rights which also provides access to education for girls and women. WT’s aim is to equip people with tools and resources in order to transition from their current reality to one of self-suitability.


Macilau has been invited to participate in a program and exhibition with the United Nations Office, World Press Photo, and the Universal Rights Group (2016). Macilau was also chosen as one of the Foreign Policy’s ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’ at a ceremony in Washington D.C. (2015). Macilau was also selected to give a talk at Harvard University in Boston as one of the panelists during the Boston Global Forum (BGF) in 2015, and again in 2016 the BGF selected Macilau to be a Michael Dukakis Leadership Fellow for 2016-2017. Macilau’s work has won several awards including the European Union Award for Environment (2015), the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary for Visual Arts (2014), and he is a laureate of the Africa Centre’s Fountainhead Residency Award (2014).

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