Mthobisi Maphumulo

Mthobisi Maphumulo is a Black South African contemporary artist that was born in 1988 September 08 at Imfume Mission (South coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal) in Durban. When he was at school he wanted to study art but he was encouraged by his family to study electrical engineering. He dropped out after two years to pursue his passion for art.

He is the founder of Amasosha Art Movement, which is a vibrant collective of Durban Artists that promote hard work, solidarity and collaboration of ideas amongst artists.


Artist Statement

My work is an investigation of the socio-political construction of African communities in neo-colonial South Africa. It looks into the notion of industrialisation and migrant labour as colonial imperatives. Consequently, thereof, my work also looks at displacement as a critical component in the constitution of contemporary spaces.

I am fascinated by the aesthetics of different working gear such as those in mining, construction, chemical, medical, underwater diving, etc. The design of such gear often presents images that replace that of human. One can, therefore, argue that the images represented by the industrial gear, bring about the 'other'. I take these images and impose/juxtapose with cultural and spiritual symbols. In doing so, there is a fundamental shift in what these images signify. These cultural heritage symbols become embedded in the industrial gear. Thereby, reconciling the 'other' with humanity.

I use oil pastel to re-imagine and reconstruct the industrial gear. All for the purpose of bringing the gear closer to the wearer. However, it is also a metaphoric device used in restoring pride, identity and dignity to the wearer. I also use a wide variety of design patterns for different reasons. One of the reasons being the expression of identity. These patterns also celebrate virtues such as patience and craftsmanship. Last, but not least, the use of patterns aims to highlight the systematic inconsistencies. The idiosyncratic consistency of inconsistencies within the system.



Nationality: South Africa