The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 1, 2024

Fountain of Blood

Fountain of Blood

(Mozambican, 1936–2011)
Framed: 119.4 x 147.3 cm (47 x 58 in.)
© Malangatana Ngwenya / DALRO, Johannesburg / ARS, NY

Did You Know?

Fountain of Blood was featured in the 1962 First International Congress of Culture exhibition, a major festival that showcased African art in Europe, and was one of Ngwenya's first exhibited works outside Mozambique.


Born in Mozambique under Portuguese rule, Malangatana Ngwenya's work focuses on the clash between local Mozambican traditions and European colonialism. His highly expressive paintings often comprise dense compositions packed with religious and mythological symbolism and tormented figures—a response to the violence he witnessed. In Fountain of Blood he incorporates a local myth: when one group moves into another people's land, their spirits battle. Ngwenya's pro-independence political views resulted in the artist's imprisonment for 18 months in 1964, contributing to his national reputation as a political artist and supporter of colonial resistance.
  • Malangatana, and Júlio Navarro. Malangatana Valente Ngwenya. translated from the Portuguese by Harriet C. McGuire, Zita C. Nunez and William P. Rougle. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota, 2003. Mentioned pp. 9-15
    Exhibitions on the occasion of the First International Congress of African Culture. Salisbury: National Gallery of Rhodesia, 1962. Reproduced, cat. 322
    African-American Institute. African Art Today: Four Major Artists. New York: African-American Institute, 1974. Mentioned pp. 5-6
    Morrill, Rebecca, Simon Hunegs, and Chika Okeke-Agulu. African Artists: From 1882 to Now. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 2021.
    "New Take on the New: A comprehensive reinstallation of the galleries of contemporary art offers fresh viewpoints on the art of our time.” Cleveland Art: Cleveland Museum of Art Members Magazine 61, no. 2 (Spring 2021): 4-9. Reproduced and Mentioned: P. 8.
  • Malangatana: Mozambique Modern. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (organizer) (March 21-November 15, 2020)
    Contemporary Gallery Reinstallation 2021. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer).
  • {{cite web|title=Fountain of Blood|url=false|author=Malangatana Ngwenya|year=1961|access-date=01 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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