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      Recycling Discarded Histories to Chronicle Identities: Making Art from Waste in Mozambique

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          Abstract

          Contemporary Mozambican artists who utilize recyclia as media create artworks that chronicle their society through bits and pieces of its discarded histories. Creating quintessentially Mozambican art, symbolic materials become potent signifiers of this developing nation. This article explores multivalent themes including object materiality, recycling, art making in Africa, and post-conflict resolution to determine why and how Mozambican artists utilize post-consumer waste. Factors including past wars, poverty, and a quest for creative expansion have contributed to widespread use of recycling as an artistic practice in Mozambique, despite artists’ varied economic, social, and educational levels. Mozambican artists who recycle their nation’s pre-used remnants not only connect to past cultural and artistic practices; they continue these traditions within contemporary contexts. By creating artwork from cast-off materials, artists illustrate how recycling permeates all levels of society, including its broad expansion into art making, and how the use of reprocessed materials both inspires and instills a sense of pride in artistic practices. Themes addressed in artwork made from recyclia include politics, social commentary, and cultural heritage. Artists include Fiel, who transforms destroyed weapons of Mozambique’s past wars into powerful tools for peacebuilding and post-conflict resolution; Cármen, who uses her old dresses to create hanging fabric pieces that capture shadows creating dissonance between light and dark; João, who calls for donations of jeans on Facebook that he will patch together and use as a variegated background supports for painting; and Pekiwa, who critiques Mozambican society through his use of recycled boats, windows, and doors.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries

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            Killing the Gun

             C Spring (2005)
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              Waste Matter - The Debris of Industrial Ruins and the Disordering of the Material World

               Tim Edensor (2016)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                12 July 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, US
                Article
                10.16995/olh.357
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Waste: disposability, decay and depletion

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