Born in 1987 in Maputo, Isaac Zavale is a Mozambican artist and muralist. He graduated from Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg where he currently lives and works. In 2011, Zavale started his own group shows and printmaking studio, Prints on Paper (POP) with fellow artist and friend, Minenkulu Ngoyi. Since 2013 they have been working hand in hand at Alphabet Zoo Collective running zine and printmaking projects throughout South Africa. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and internationally including If Yesterday Was Tomorrow What Is Today, BODE Projects, Berlin (2020-2021); Joni Ya Milenge, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg (2020); Alphabet Zoo, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, Johannesburg (2019); and GRAFIKAMA (Service Peinture) Exposition Collective, Nantes, France (2016). His work has also been shown at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, 2021. He is represented by the Kalashnikovv Gallery.
His family escaped to Johannesburg during the civil war in Mozambique and his work focuses on social and political matters in Southern Africa seen through the lens of a Mozambican immigrant. He sees those realities as ongoing stories that need to be told. His artwork is colourful and filled with symbolism. Isaac Zavale often displays AK47 rifles, also showcased in the Mozambique flag, in contrast with birds in his art.
His recent body of work mostly consists of inner-city landscapes that depict honest representations of Johannesburg street scenes, placing a spotlight on how people can use a space in diverse ways, to create and take ownership of it. A collaborative dimension also occupies an important place in the artist’s practice. His work through the collective The Alphabet Zoo encourages young talented illustrators, designers, publishers and artists to contribute their skills to the South African alternative culture to capture the vibrant spirit of their cities, turning streets into galleries of their own.