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Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi has been working on and developing a unique of art making.

Using discarded plastics of a certain quality in melting process, he paints in impastos solid forms burnt with a heat gun onto a thick, roofing-plastic surface. He has created a new form of paint, 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.


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 his work.

After completing his studies at Funda Centre he enrolled for a teacher training programme at the Johannesburg Art Festival Foundation, which he completed in 1998. He then participated in the Standard Bank Art Festival as a guest artist. This was followed by studies at Witwatersrand where he graduated with an advanced Diploma in Fine Arts.

He was then invited to the Vermont Studio Centre in New York and the Barbados Community College as a guest artist, Kunst: Raum Stylt-Quelle Rantum (Sylt Island) and Wiesbaden, Germany.

Representing South Africa

In South Africa he has had shows at the Seippel Gallery Johannesburg, Everard Read, Johannesburg Art Gallery and Spark Gallery, He also represented South Africa at the Cairo Biennale in 2007 and The Second International Biennale for Contemporary Art in Prague, and participated in both the Johannesburg Biennales

The Message

The subject matter of his painting includes a series called “childhood”, where he experiments with figurative images and games in the township, and explores the image used in textbooks that were stereotypical during his school years.

His work is almost biographical because following from his 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 dusty atmosphere, typical township 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.

Global Works

Through the Seippel Gallery Cologne, Buthelezi has had exhibitions and conducted workshops in the United States (Museum of Art Houston, Museum for African Art New York, Boston University New York),the United Kingdom (Royal State Theatre London, The Drum Birmingham), Canada, Australia ( Conny Dietzschold Gallery Sydney) and Europe (Second Biennale National Gallery Prague and Bellevue Saai Wiesbaden) among others. Between 2004-2005 he had a solo travelling exhibition accompanied by a catalogue, starting at the Museum Goch,Kunst: Raum Sylt-Quelle and Seippel Gallery Koln.