Mbongeni Buthelezi

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Mbongeni Buthelezi
Born 1966
Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality South African
Known for Paintings, Collages

Mbongeni Buthelezi, born 1966 in Johannesburg in South Africa, is an artist who became known for "painting" in plastic.


Buthelezi attended courses at the African Institute of Art in Johannesburg from 1986 until 1992 and later also at the University of Witwatersrand from 1997 until 1998.

He was "artist in residence" several times:

  • Guest Artist, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle, Rantum, Germany
  • Atelierhaus Höherweg e.V., Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Standard Bank National Art Festival, South Africa
  • Vermont Studio Centre, New York, USA
  • Art Omi International Artists Centre, New York USA

Work philosophy

The material that Mbongeni Buthelezi uses for his "paintings" is always waste made of plastic: he cuts it into little pieces and glues them onto the canvas, creating surfaces and structures with subtle and changing tones and coloures. The use of such material shows Buthelezi's awareness of environmental problems and the physical decay of the townships as well as the references to general social and political impoverishment and flaw of opportunities and alternatives that he observes in South Africa.

Through his work, Buthelezi wants to mediate and communicate hope. He is convinced that seeing his works and his history, people are able to realise that in South Africa there are many opportunities, too, and that it is possible to create a better life and a career out of nothing; making art would enable people to change their lives and to contribute something positive to the world.[1]

Buthelezi states about his style: “I now have 18 different techniques, each of which have subtle differences from the other. The material can be applied like large ‘brushstrokes' in many colours, or sepia toned where layers of neutral shading creates visual depth and subtlety or applied in a linear manner.” [2]

Buthelezis works have been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of African Art in New York, the Goch Museum in Germany as well as the Prague Biennale.

his works are part of a various collections, amongst them:


Solo (selected)


  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany


  • Seippel Gallery, Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, Germany
  • PAN Kunstforum Niederrhein, Emmerich, Germany
  • KZNSA, Durban, South Africa
  • Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
  • Red Location Museum Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberly, South Africa


  • Seippel Gallery, Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kulturverein Zehntscheuer, Rottenburg/Neckar, Germany
  • Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa
  • Sasol [Art] Museum, Stellenbosch, South Africa


  • Seippel Gallery Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany


  • Bellevue-Saal, Wiesbaden, Germany
  • Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • SBK, Stichting Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany
  • Kunst:Raum Sylt Quelle, Rantum, Sylt, Germany


  • Museum Goch, Germany
  • Mural painting, Madeira, Portugal


  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany


  • Atelier Haus Höherweg, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Spark Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Group (selected)


  • ROLAND-Galerie Cologne, Germany
  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany


  • FNB Johannesburg Art Fair, South Africa


  • Seippel Gallery Johannesburg, South Africa


  • 10th Cairo Biennale, Egipt
  • Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain
  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Rhythm & Jazz


  • Seippel Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • Biennale Prague, Czech Republic


  • Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Warren Siebrits Contemporary Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft DEG, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Art Fair with Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany
  • Galerie Seippel Cologne, Germany


  • Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle, Rantum, Germany
  • Rottenburg/Neckar, Germany


  • Museum of Art, Houston, USA
  • Royal State Theater, London, UK
  • The Drum, Birmingham, UK
  • Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa
  • Houston Museum of Art, USA


  • Museum for African Art, New York City
  • Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Grahamstown National Arts Festival, South Africa


  • Carlton Center (50 Stories Exhibition), Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Nondi Nisa Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Generator Art Space, South Africa


  • Mofolo Art Center, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Electric Workshop, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Paper Prayers, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa
  • Artist Proof Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Boston University, New York, South Africa
  • Van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sandton Gallery, Sandton/Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Berman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Staib Gallery, Print Exhibition, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Funda Centre Auditorium, Soweto/Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Development Bank of Southern Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Africa Cultural Center, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Market Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Grahamstown National Arts Festival


  • Nasrec Showground, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


  • Catalogue-download at Artsourcesouthafrica
  • Article on Artsourcesouthafrica
  • Gruntkowski, Nina, und Pretoria Art Museum. Mbongeni Buthelezi, imizwa yami (my feelings). Seippel, 2009.
  • Chimzima, Pitso, und Susanne Madaus. Mbongeni Buthelezi. Museum Goch, 2004.


  1. ^ Interview on a german South Africa-Blog
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011. Article on Business and Arts South Africa

External links

  • Artikel auf 2010sdafrika
  • Künstlerprofil auf der Homepage der Seippel Gallerie
  • Artikel auf Artsourcesouthafrica
  • Video: Interview mit dem Künstler
  • Bildergallerie
  • Artikel auf Basa.co.za
  • Bericht auf der Seite des Goch Museums
  • Blog-Artikel
  • Artikel auf fm.co.za
  • Artikel auf Mediaupdate
  • Review auf Suedafrika.org
  • Slideshow
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