“I use rubbish to create something beautiful. I collect something that has no value and give it new life. That’s what we can do with ourselves and our lives.”
Mbongeni Buthelezi is a talented visual artist who lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is globally renowned for his unique creative process that involves the applying of waste plastic with a heat gun onto plastic. The finished works are often mistaken for an oil painting.
His use of litter as a medium demonstrates Mbongeni’s awareness of environmental problems, social issues and political impoverishment. Buthelezi aims to communicate hope through his work, to bring to light the opportunities within the country and to show that it is possible to create a life out of nothing.
Mbongeni has exhibited extensively both locally and internationally, including the Museum of African Art in New York, the Museum Goch (Germany) as well as the Prague Biennale. His works grace numerous public and private collections including Mercedes-Benz (South Africa), Daimler AG Art Collection (Stuttgart, Germany), Johannesburg Art Gallery (South Africa) and the Spier Collection (South Africa).
In 2017, he was invited to exhibit and conduct a series of workshops at the prestigious King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. During this trip, KAUST presented Mbongeni with an award, for being a ‘pioneer’ in his medium.