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Angolan Artist Cristiano Mangovo Examines the State of the World With Humano e a Natureza


Climate change is one of the most important topics in the world right now. Global warming, the state of the environment and mankind’s role both the problem and the solution is one that we cannot afford to ignore. The loss of animal life, ecosystems and rising global temperatures are having a very real impact on our way of life, posing a real and imminent threat to humanity and life as we know it.

In light of this, as well as the recently concluded United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland where world leaders, climate experts and campaigners gathered to agree on action to tackle climate change, the first solo show in France by Angolan-born multimedia artist Cristiano Mangovo seems very pertinent and relevant today. Taking place in Paris until December 7 at the AFIKARIS Gallery, Humano e a Natureza explores and critiques humankind’s relationship with nature.

The exhibition consists of 12 new figurative works, including large-scale pieces depicting fantastical creatures composed of human, animal and vegetable features, positioned against a background of bold primary colors, a representation of mankind’s dominance over fellow inhabitants and surroundings.

Angel of Fertility by Cristiano Mangovo

Angel of Fertility, 2021

The paintings in Humano e a Natureza (which simply translates to “humans and nature”) encourage engagement from the viewer, bidding them to make sense of what they see, as well as to question their participation and culpability in the environmental challenges that have plagued our planet for far too long. 

Each artwork in the exhibit is made from acrylic paint on canvas, some of which measure up to two meters. Mangovo uses striking red and yellow paints as well as stark black to highlight the magnificent blend of colors that form each hybrid creature at the forefront of each piece. “The Angel of Fertility” features two twisted human faces that share one head, with wings made out of fruit, a blend of humanity and nature. “The Repair of Ecology” shows humans in conversation with various animals, and manmade tools. Each piece offers a unique take on the domination of humans over nature, and the need for that dynamic to change. 

Installation view of Humano e a Natureza exhibition by Cristiano MangovoInstallation view of Humano e a Natureza

“I continuously question myself on the way humans claim and display their superiority over other living creatures. This thought has seeped through my work for a certain amount of time now, as I seek to integrate and express the emotions that other living beings could feel,” the artist says. “Doing so requires what might seem like a dive into the imaginary, when it is in fact a simple, very real change of perspective – one that asks that we consider any form of life as having its own value, one to be respected.”

A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Kinshasa, Luanda-born Mangovo, who now resides in Lisbon in Portugal, has developed a brilliant grasp on the relationship of a constantly changing contemporary society and the balance of power. He has committed himself to exploring important social issues in Africa, such as environmental protection and women’s rights, the former being the most prevalent in his current body of work. 

Campanha de Proteção by Cristiano MangovoCampanha de Proteção, 2021

Mangovo’s first solo show in France, Humano e a Natureza demonstrates AFIKARIS gallery’s commitment to curating and showcasing works by emerging and established artists from African and its diaspora. Founded in 2018 as an online platform, the Paris-based space has quickly established itself as a cross-cultural and disciplinary facilitator, providing artists with a space to address the topical issues and themes at the heart of their art.

Humano e a Natureza is on at the AFIKARIS gallery, Paris until 7 December