Mbongeni Buthelezi

MBONGENI RICHMAN BUTHELEZI

Buthelezi has been working on and developing a unique technique of art making art using discarded plastics of a certain quality in a melting process, he paints in imposters solid forms burnt with a heat gun onto a thick, roofing-plastic surface. He has created a new form of painting, a so-called plastic painting. His unique paintings are often larger than life. He is able to work realistically  and abstractly, with the technique being extremely  detailed.

After completing his studies at the African Institute of Art  he enrolled for a teacher training programme at the Johannesburg Art Foundation,  which he completed in 1998. He then participated in the Standard Bank Arts Festival as a guest artist. This was followed by studies at University of the Witwatersrand where he graduated with an advanced Diploma in Fine Arts. He was then invited to the Artelierhaus Hoherweg e.V in Düsseldorf for an artists residency and in 1999 was again invited to the Vermont Studio Center in New York for four Months and took part in a big South African group exhibition at the Museum for African Art I’m New York.  Other residencies included the OMI international Artists center in NewYork and the Barbados Community College as guest artist, Kunist Rain Stylt-Quelle Tantrum(Stylt island) and Wiesbaden, Germany.

Born in KwaZulu-Natal and raised in Springs, Buthelezi has moulded these worlds together and tries to make sense of his rural upbringing with an urban existence in Work.
The subject matter of his paintings includes a series called “childhood” , where he experiments with figurative images and games on the township, and explores the images used in textbooks that were stereotypical during his school years. His work is almost biographical because following from the childhood series is the “jazzing it up series”, “Black and white series” and the “Winter in Kliptown series”. One is almost able to sense this artist’s daily woes, which are evident in his titles,”The church My mother used to go to”, a work about his late mother, a landscape with a dusty atmosphere, typical twinship church structure and two ladies dressed in red and white. He is able to capture an atmosphere very well In a way that is not expected from the process of work he uses.
In South Africa he has had shows at the  at the Lizamore Gallery,  Everard Read, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Spark Gallery just to name a few . He also represented South Africa at the Cairo Beinnale in 2007 and The Second international Beinnale for contemporary Art in Prague, and participated in both the Johannesburg Beinnales. Butheleziheld his museum travelling exhibition in South Africa starting at the Pretoria Museum, William Humphreys Museum in Cape Town, Red Location in Port Elizabeth, KZN SA Durban, Oliewenhuis Museum in Bloemfontein and ended in Kimberly.

Through the Seippel Gallery Cologne, Buthelezi has had exhibitions and conducted workshops in the United States (Museum of Art Houston, Museum for African Art NewYork, Boston University NewYork), the United kingdom(Royal States Theatre London , The drum Birmingham),Canada, Australia(Conny Dietzschold Gallery Sydney) and Europe (second Beinnale National Gallery Prague and Bellevue saal Wiesbaden), Tse-Tse Art Gallery in Belgium among others.

In 2017 Buthelezi was invited in Saudi Arabia in KAUST )King Abdullah University Of Science and Technology) as a Pioneer in the Enrichment Program for 2017 to run a workshop and accompanied by an exhibition. The South African Consulate in Jeddah is currently hosting the exhibition in their residency office space. Solo exhibition at the Melrose Gallery in 2017. An exhibition at the Iwalewahaus in Bavaria Germany and currently preparing for a residency in the Maldives in November. Buthelezi was invited by the Bayreuth University and Iwalewa-Haus to be the artist in-residency and to collaborate on an outreach program called Art Meets Science.

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