Joseph’s works speak of the life in the village that becomes nostalgia for a
rapidly urbanized world.
Joseph has incredible works. His paintings bring to mind some of the great
painters. One of his fans compared his works to those of a Dane L.A Ring- a
painter whose work invoke normal peasant life such as in the painting Charles
‘Hay-wire’ Patoshik-played by Silas Weir Mitchell-in the popular American TV
series Prison Break was obsessed with and which he stole in a blind woman’s
house after breaking out of Fox River Penitentiary. Personally, I saw the works
of Dutch Painter Vin-cent Van Gogh. However, the things we see in the art are
what the West has interred into our brains through movies, books and the
popularity of their works. Moreso, the
price tag on works like Van Gogh’s sets them apart as pacemakers of what we
perceive as quality art nowadays.
work is fresh, local, vivid and soft. It breathes a fresh life to that
for-gotten village life, bringing the innocence, the normal and the motherly.
It retains the ordinary and relishes the freshness of stained clothes and the
value of hard work.
When one comes
across Mfundo Mbali’s works, the awe goes towards not the beauty but the
details with which he captures the village life. The artist, who hails in
Bloemfontein South Africa, is modest despite the acclaim his works receive both
on social media and those who interact with him in real life. In August, for
example, his work was on display in New York at Dacia Gallery on 53 Stanton- an
exhibition dubbed ‘Painting the American Dream.’ According to him, the New York
show went well and some of his works were selected by the Boston Auction House
for an auction later this year.
Inspired by the
man behind Black Mona Lisa painting Richard Bollers, Mfundo Mbali largely
credits his mastery on his industry. “I am a self-taught artist,” he says while
I feel like I am wasting his time. A prolific painter, Mfundo Mbali believes in
the value of hard work. If not in his studio, he is traversing his hometown in
Rouxville taking snapshots for his further works.
As a fast-rising
artist, Mfundo Mbali made a name for himself during the Macufe Arts Festival in
2015. Though little known at the time his painting, “Khoisan Woman Washing’ set
him apart among other artists. However, it is ‘Bani’s Guitar’ that would win
the second prize in the fair. He has also showcased his works at the National
Arts Festival, Vaal Arts Festival, Tulghbag Arts Festival and looking forward
to hosting a solo show soon.
The artist, who
wishes to exhibit in Kenya’s Nairobi Gallery, teamed up with a friend and
partner Vuyisile Adoons on a mural at a church in Aliwal North, Eastern Cape.
The mural, expansive and bright, graces the church from one end to another with
its warm enticing beauty.
The artist’s soft
touch to village life and his focus on the normal life of those outside the
hustle and buzz of urban life set him apart among the young crop artists who
have resolved to use village life as fodder for their creativity. Moreover, the
art is not subject to a lot of interpretation but that of village innocence not
polluted with urbanism and the sometime annoying technology. In a world,
rapidly spinning out of control, the artist reminds us of the sane village
life- a life we look at as backward. He draws miles and miles of empty
vastness- he draws the community- the simplicity of life un-fettered by all the
shenanigans of cultural confusion.