Mário Macilau Mozambique, b. 1984

“I consider my photographic practice to be a visual investigation, taking a critical view on identity, political issues, and environmental  conditions."
Mário Macilau was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1984, and he still calls it home. 
His journey into photography began in 2003, but it wasn't until 2007, when he swapped his mother’s cellphone for his first camera, that he turned professional. Specializing in immersive, long-term projects, Macilau traverses a kaleidoscope of themes, from identity and politics to environmental concerns and the narratives of marginalized communities. Through his lens, he endeavors to ignite transformative conversations that transcend borders, cultures, and perspectives.
Portraiture, for Macilau, serves as a gateway to intimacy, a vessel through which broader narratives unfold. His signature style, characterized by rich monochromatic compositions adorned with muted tones and textures, captures the essence of his subjects with profound depth and sensitivity. Utilizing natural light and depth of field, he orchestrates a chiaroscuro of light and shadow, infusing his images with a nuanced and poetic aura.
Beyond his artistic endeavors, Macilau is deeply engaged in collaborative and educational initiatives. As an activist with Walking Together (WT), he champions children’s rights and advocates for access to education, empowering individuals to transcend their circumstances and forge paths of self-determination. 
Macilau's impact resonates far beyond the confines of his lens, earning him recognition on the global stage. From prestigious exhibitions at the United Nations Office, World Press Photo, and the Universal Rights Group (2016), to being named one of Foreign Policy’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers” (2015), his contributions have sparked dialogue and inspired change. Harvard University and the Boston Global Forum (BGF) have both welcomed him as a distinguished speaker (2015), underscoring his role as a catalyst for social transformation. The BGF also selected  Macilau to be a Michael Dukakis Leadership Fellow (2016-2017). His accolades include the European Union Award for Environment (2015), the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary for Visual Arts (2014), and the Africa Centre’s Fountainhead Residency Award (2014), among others. 
His work regularly graces the walls of galleries and museums worldwide. Recently, Mário Macilau’s photographs have been showcased in the prestigious venue of Tate Modern London, within the exhibition A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography curated by Osei Bonsu (2023-2024). He was also one of three artists presented at the Pavilion of the Holy See at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), with a body of work also presented at Volta NY (2016). Also in 2015, Macilau’s work was included in the Vitra Design Museum’s exhibition Making Africa: A Continent of  Contemporary Design curated by Amelie Klein with Okwui Enwezor as Consulting Curator. Other notable shows include Entry Prohibited to Foreigners curated by Elise Atangana at the  Havremagasinet Boden Art Center, Sweden (2015), Pangea: New Art from Africa and Latin America at Saatchi Gallery, London  (2014), Fotofest Biennial, Houston (2014), International Biennial of Casablanca, Morocco (2014), Tempo Galeria Belo-Galsterer,  Lisboa (2013), Dak’art Biennial OFF, Dakar (2012), Rencontres de Bamako, Bamako (2011), VI Chobi Mela Photo Festival, Dhaka  (2011), Photo Spring, Beijing (2011), and Lagos Photo, Lagos (2010 & 2011).  
Through his seminal monograph “Growing in Darkness”, presented at Fotofestiwal in Łódź, Poland, within a solo exhibition entitled Discovery Show (2015), Macilau invites viewers on a contemplative journey, exploring themes of resilience, transition, and the human spirit. Other notable solo shows includes The Road Not Taken at The  Auction Room, London (2015), Nada Como O Tempo curated by Berry Bickle at Kulungwana Gallery in Maputo (2015), Fora da  Cidade at Blank Projects, Cape Town (2014), and Moments of Transition at Belo-Galsterer Gallery, Lisboa (2014). Moreover, Macilau’s work is held in many private and public collections. 
Mário Macilau's legacy transcends the confines of art, echoing in the hearts and minds of those touched by his profound vision of humanity.