Mozambican Proverbs illustrated by Hugo Mendes

Mozambican Proverbs illustrated by Hugo Mendes

Mozambican illustrator Hugo Mendes is born and raised in Maputo, Mozambique and has been inspired by his countries rich culture.

Mozambique is a country with a rich culture diversity and a strong tradition of craftsmanship in woodcarving and sculptures, I take inspiration the mixture of cultures and  these processes, that’s why my work resembles the craft of woodblock printing, which may be considered an asian technique, but with a strong local identity.
Through my artwork, I aims to represent everyday life aspects referring to the collective history of the Mozambican people and their fantasies and at the same time I seeks to explore more intimate elements, related to the dark side of my own psyche and the black experience. An attempt to produce content that interests and represents me, but isn’t available to me here.

In an illustration series in collaboration with design studio ANIMA he brought to life proverbs from his country.

I aimed to give new life and my own view to the myths and teachings behind each proverbs, which wasn’t very easy, African stories and proverbs tend to be a bit loose and open to interpretation.
Ended up collecting proverbs from almost every region in the country, since there are a lot of ethnicities in the country, every illustration is bilingual, at the top in a cursive font the proverb in the Native language (tried to give some sort of personal touch to the language in a way) and the translation in Portuguese (the common language in the whole country) at the bottom.
The frame is also supposed to be reminiscent of the old postcards that used to feature elements of the local cultures and wildlife.
A rabbit died here
A Ripe Fig doesn’t lack bugs inside
Is a person who eats cockroaches
It’s a grassless hut
It’s like the fly and the wound.
No one is ugly because they wanted it
Only the fool goes backwards (or returns behind)
The ant gave orders to the elephant.
The disgrace has entourage.
The load is felt on the shoulders.
The tortoise walks with his house.
There’s never a friend missing for a fool.


What is tasty doesn’t fill a spoon.
Words are like the wind, they pass quickly

Be sure to follow Hugo;


1 comment

Leave a comment
  1. Guert

    January 17, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Nice work and brilliant ideas . Looking at it feels intriguing and peacefull. Nice post

Leave a Comment