SA artist Mondli ‘The Artivist’ Kunene ready to showcase his work globally
South African visual artist Mondli “The Artivist” Kunene says he is ready to showcase his authentic, high-end art pieces to the world.
Kunene is currently planning on breaking into the international market as an independent artist.
“Ownership, curatorship and freedom are extremely important for me as an individual and a creative.
“I have seen artists getting exploited, and subsequently, dying poor.
“I took the long route but the scenery is breathtaking and I am learning a lot. I am open to collaborations though,” he said.
He insists that his work is not only about art aesthetics but also about creating narratives that encourage dialogue while raising awareness about the social ills in South Africa and the rest of the continent.
His artwork features a combination of recycled materials coupled with socio-political commentary.
Elaborating on his approach, Kunene explained: “When I create an art piece, I’m offering an original experience that seeks to provoke thought, raise awareness about social contentious issues within the African diaspora and how those issues resonate with the rest of the world.”
He added: “Furthermore, the material or medium of choice, acrylic paint, banknotes, Ostrich and crocodile leathers, platinum dust, are part of the Mondliart signature, as my style and technique distinguishes me from the rest and also highlights how I communicate my messages to the world in a manner that is unprecedented.”
Fine art is often seen as something for a certain type of people – rich people or middle-class people. But the Joburg-born star says his art caters to everyone including your average Joe.
“Access to fine art is an issue that is still yet to be debunked as it is a myth that art is only meant to be consumed by the elite.
“Personally, I understand that not everyone can afford the art pieces, thus, I have made it possible for the laymen to be exposed to opportunities of owning some of the finest art pieces from my collection,” Kunene explained.
Reflecting on some of his accolades, Kunene offered: “Design Indaba chose me as 1 of 50 emerging South African creatives to look out for currently, and I represented the Visual Art discipline, back in 2019. I have exhibited twice internationally, in India and Canada, last year.”
The star says it was his uncle and grandmother who helped inspire him at an early age.
“The discovery for my artistic talent is influenced by my late Babomncane Sibusiso “Kau” Kunene. He could paint, draw, create life-sized cars than he drove around. And my late grandmother, who was a creative seamstress," recalls Kunene.
He added: "I only started painting in my 8th grade and I started painting using watercolour paints and a watercolour cartridge paper pad.
“I was fascinated by how I can create a drawing and people be amazed by my artworks."
Some of his artistic influences include his mentor contemporary sculptor and artist Speelman Mahlangu, world-renowned artist Dr Esther Mahlangu and legendary painter, sculptor and theorist Leonardo Da Vinci.