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MBEKENI MBILI AT KZNSA (article first published : 2008-02-23)

Mbhekeni Mbili produces work that uses the modernist language of “township art” to explore contemporary issues of globalisation. One of the finalists in the Start: The Nivea Art Award 2007 (an award for emerging artists co-ordinated by the KZNSA Gallery and supported by Beiersdorf), Mbili’s work has rapidly become sought-after in both local and international markets.

In this, his first solo exhibition, Mbili examines the possible effects of the 2010 Soccer World cup within his home and social environment.

Mbili writes that “Some of my fondest memories of my early childhood days were the times my brothers, my late dad and myself played soccer in the park, creating a life-long passion for soccer. Soccer gave me the means to express myself and allowed me to release tension. It transported me to another world where I only focused on the soccer ball and my interaction with my teammates. Soccer provided me with a sense of belonging, yet allowed me to retain my individuality. We did not need to hang out at nightclubs and movie theatres, we provided our own entertainment with soccer.”

About his artwork, Mbili writes that “I want my paintings to create an atmosphere where the world becomes receptive to us and supports our land and its people, and realizes we have much to offer, despite all the negative reports generated about South Africa. I want to send a message of hope and joy by portraying the humility and endurance of the South African people by means of my work.”

The exhibition of works by Mbhekeni Mbili runs at the KZNSA complex from February 12 to March 9.




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