Mozambican painter, Valente Malangatana Ngwenya was born on June 6th 1936, in Matalana, southern Mozambique. He studied at the Swiss Mission School in Matalana and in the Catholic Mission School in Ntsindya, Bulaze. At the age of 12 he moved to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), where he attended art school. In 1961 he held his first solo exhibition, despite having shown his works publicly before that, in 1959.

Essentially a self-taught artist, he produced a large work in the field of painting and is today one of the best known African artists worldwide. Represented in numerous museums and private collections all over the world, he held exhibitions in several countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. Malangatana is a multi-faceted creator, expressing his art in various ways, such as dance, music, poetry, theatre, tapestry, ceramics and sculpture.

His work substantiates, undeniably, the vigour of his African roots. He also participated in the creation of cultural centres and of the Art National Museum in Maputo, and co-founded the Mozambican Movement for Peace. Among several awards, he received the Nachingwea Medal for the contribution given to Mozambican culture and is a Great Official of the Brotherhood of Infante D. Henrique, by appointment of the Portuguese President of Republic. He was also considered, by UNESCO, an “artist for peace”, and received the Prince Claus Award, in the Netherlands, for his “great influence in the arts”.