Walter Zandamela, or Zand, his artistic name, became best known for the canvas of that name that became a Swatch watch, in which he combines the technique of free drawing and digital art filled with the warm colours of the Mozambican landscape.
Born in Maputo in 1978, Zand grew up in the Xipamanine neighbourhood between the alleys of Chamanculo D. He is an artist, designer, illustrator, musician and lecturer in Materials and Production Process for Design and Multidisciplinary Workshops at the Faculty of Arts of the Instituto Superior de Artes e Cultura (ISArC).
And although he showed an inclination for the artistic world right from childhood, he has no trouble admitting that training “was fundamental” to his continuity in the medium. Not least because the start of Walter’s artistic journey wasn’t necessarily free of obstacles and the prejudice of “some people who still see the plastic arts as not being ‘serious’ work”, he recalls.
“It’s a milestone to work with such a big international brand, even more so to be able to do so by portraying the history of a resilient people like ours. I arrived at Swatch via a competition open to participants from all over the world…”
So, right from the start of her journey into the world of art, she had to face the obstacle of the disbelief of others and only didn’t give up because “people really had to accept, once and for all, that I was born an artist, I improved my techniques, I researched and I got involved with other arts, from music to dance, from theatre to letters. This was fundamental for me to realise the correlation and sustainability between the arts.”
If, as the popular saying goes, “he who persists achieves”, Walter Zand has earned his place as an artist at a national level where he has worked as a book illustrator, but the big leap happened at an international level when one of his works won the international competition launched by the Swiss watch brand Swatch.
“It’s a milestone to work with such a big international brand, even more so to be able to do so by portraying the history of a resilient people like ours. I arrived at Swatch via a competition open to participants from all over the world. I had to fulfil the competition’s criteria by sending an image of my painting, which I chose with a friend. The work was very representative, addressing the hope of the Mozambican people who, in the face of many adversities, never give up.
This work has strengthened my projection in terms of spreading my name and our culture around the world.”
Above all, Zand’s aim with his work is to show hope and overcome the prejudice that exists in the world of the arts: “with this work I was able to prove to myself that I could achieve great things and I showed people who were suspicious of me and all the arts that it is possible to make a living in this area like any other.”
He is currently focused on expanding his work, holding exhibitions and, in the future, realising his dream of creating the “Zand Arts Gallery” in Maputo.