Born in 1949 in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), João Fróis came from an Alentejo family based in Mozambique for three generations. In the former Portuguese colony, where he remained until 2001, he did a little of everything, giving meaning to his nonaligned, dilettante and adventurous personality. Among other activities, he was a military man, a journalist, a basketball coach and a flight attendant for the Mozambique Airlines. During his free time, he drew and painted, taking advantage of the close relationship he maintained in the local bohemian and artistic scene, which included Malangatana and Chichorro.
He currently lives in Ponte de Lima, completely out of the system, in a kind of isolation that allows him to take his days as he likes, free and detached from material questions.
Self-taught, he makes art as a mental therapy, especially when life doesn’t suit him, never having shown great interest in projecting himself as an artist.
The 60 psychedelic and surrealistic drawings, impregnated with African motifs, that make up this exhibition were almost all created between 2003 and 2014, in sheets of ordinary notebooks, using Artpen or a simple ballpoint pen. The color present in some of the works results from the unusual application of stained glass varnish.
While they are creations marked by a clear mental circumstantiality of the artist, they are, like their creator, estranged from any spatial or temporal circumstances, due to the alienation to which he surrendered himself.
It’s something absolutely new, a rare treasure that is now exhibited in public for the first time. In addition to the formal richness, hard work and eccentricity of the representations, these works have added value as they are the result of a singular unconscious process of self-therapy over a decade, not a regular activity of creative expression with the conscious purpose of showing and sharing one’s result.