The Melrose Gallery is proud to present ‘Sugar Tax’, Mbongeni Buthelezi’s latest solo exhibition.
Mbongeni Buthelezi’s preferred medium is waste plastic, a material that if treated without the required care and management can cause much damage to our environment. His chosen medium spawns from his fascination with the tensions created between the important functional role that plastic plays, and how the material can become such a dangerous threat to our planet if discarded without proper thought and planning.
In his latest exhibition ‘Sugar Tax’, the logo’s and branding of well-known and popular soft drink brands are a unifying theme throughout. Members of the artists’ community are portrayed, going about everyday life, shadowed by these brands that the modern world has become so accustomed to. It is difficult to imagine our lives without these brands – without sugar, and with no plastic.
Whilst the presence of the brands is subtle, they play an integral role in the design of the artworks and are definite in their role. They were the primary thought behind the original conception of each piece.
‘Sugar Tax’ explores the synergies and complexities that come to play when considering the positives and negatives of sugar and plastic. Without proper management, sugar and plastic can cause serious damage, but like most things, if used in moderation with the correct care, they can make a positive contribution to our lives.
“I find it interesting that something of no value, with the right care and attention can be used to create artworks of such beauty that they have considerable value to art collectors”, states Mbongeni.
Mbongeni recently returned from Saudi Arabia after receiving an award from the prestigious King Abdullah University of Science in Technology as a ‘pioneer in his medium’. He was invited to deliver several workshops and exhibit some of his artworks at the university which were extremely well received.
He has exhibited extensively locally and internationally and his works grace numerous important private and public collections.