Mario Macilau Growing in Darkness, Volta New York, March 2nd - 6th, 2016


Mario Macilau Ninja, Growing in Darkness series archival pigment on cotton rag paper 80 x 120cm 2012-15
Mário Macilau started taking pictures in 2003 on the streets of the capital, Maputo. His acclaimed series, Growing in Darkness, captures the lives of children across the city growing up unsupervised in abandoned structures, in a world he knows well having spent ten years on the streets himself as a youth.

‘My aim was to go where everyone advised me not to go. I entered their private spaces: bridges and abandoned buildings where they live and sleep, that is, where they camp. These places were very dark, damp and dangerous’

Growing in Darkness is as much about hope, beauty and the resilience of his subjects as it is about a world that fails children. It is rooted in a determination to honour the lives of his subjects without judgement and without pity but with candour and humanity.

Growing in Darkness was part of the Vatican Museum’s exhibition at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Works from his Moments in Transition series are currently on view at The Guggenheim Bilbao as part of their Making Africa exhibition.


Macilau has been the recipient of numerous awards most recently The FP Magazine’s Global Thinkers award. He was a finalist in the Unicef Photo of the Year in 2009. His work has featured regularly in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in his home country and abroad, including The Saatchi Gallery’s Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, 2014. Vitra Design Museum, Making Africa, 2015 and The Venice Biennale, 2015 and The Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2015-16.