Vusi Mbulali

Biography

Biography

Vusi Mbulali is a South African born, paint artist who specializes in portrait painting. His most recent work includes painting South African heroes like the late Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko and O.R. Tambo. Discovered at 12 years old, Mbulali uses abstract art techniques to express a unique interpretation of the famous faces he paints. He is also highly sought after for both family and individual portraits. His professional career spans well over 10 years painting experience and his clientele includes private individuals and public figures.

 

Mbulali’s talent was discovered at school, when his principal Maseko gave him homework to draw a human body and label it. His skill and precision was dumbfounding. This discovery launched Mbulali as the school artist. He was responsible for drawing charts, teachers’ district assignments, portraits, school competitions and book illustrations for his, author teacher, at secondary school.

 

While growing his art, Mbulali acquired and applied his skills in billboards sign writing and mural painting.  His first solo exhibition took place in 2009 at Springs Art Gallery. Mbulali used this opportunity to display his retrospective portraits and to introduce a new technique in abstract art he had been working on. The reviews and feedback were overwhelmingly positive. He was also a part of just 30 artists to exhibit at the gallery as part of the 30 30 Contemporary Group Art Exhibition in 2014. He exhibited his abstract art at 30 30 which received a great review by Artist David Koloane (among others) making it an even greater success.

 

As a multi-skilled artist, Mbulali has over the years mentored art students at Matshidiso LSEN School in Johannesburg, South Africa and taught art to children at Geluksdal Library. He has further appreciated an opportunity to teach art in his home community with the Star in Vire Art Class Project, funded by Mr. Khumalo, a local businessman.

 

Mbulali met and worked with various Kwa-Thema artists including Mafa Ngwena during his art research in organizations, galleries and their studios. He was introduced to Artist Proof Studio by artist Kamogelo Masemola and art curator Thabo Sekoaila where he studied professional print making, both theory and practical for two years.

 

Vusi Mbulali’s current and best work yet consists of two collections of portraits; Nelson Mandela and O.R. Tambo portraits which are each a unique combination of portrait, representation and abstract interpretation.

The faces series, although born from a brief, took me on an exciting journey of discovery and expression. With each stroke I uncover a unique feature reflecting familiar characteristic of the beloved O.R. Tambo, sometimes the stalwart and at other times the honourable expression of his faces. This body of work is a tribute to a legend South Africa loves and honours.

 

I use a mixed medium of soft pastel, charcoal, squashed and burned papers, acrylic and pastel (for colour) on primed canvas to reproduce familiar images of O.R Tambo, originally in pictures. The produced work ranges from exceptionally detailed portraits to abstract interpretations. The completion of one work of art stirs up the inspiration and energy for the next, yet each one is unique in how it captures the subject. The final stroke is to maintain the integrity of the O.R. Tambo faces collection by presenting it at an exhibition that honours the legend it represents and everything he stood for. 

Artists Statement

The O.R. Tambo collection is influenced by his militant characteristics, brilliance and powerful stature. O.R Tambo reminds me of the feel of a rock that has been tested through fire and raining seasons only to discover that it has been a shining metal (i.e. Gold) all along.  It was covered by dust of the black and white clouds of our past but when its rusty covering is removed it reveals a likeness with nature; quite profound.

 

The faces series, although born from a brief, took me on an exciting journey of discovery and expression. With each stroke I uncover a unique feature reflecting familiar characteristic of the beloved O.R. Tambo, sometimes the stalwart and at other times the honourable expression of his faces. This body of work is a tribute to a legend South Africa loves and honours.

 

I use a mixed medium of soft pastel, charcoal, squashed and burned papers, acrylic and pastel (for colour) on primed canvas to reproduce familiar images of O.R Tambo, originally in pictures. The produced work ranges from exceptionally detailed portraits to abstract interpretations. The completion of one work of art stirs up the inspiration and energy for the next, yet each one is unique in how it captures the subject. The final stroke is to maintain the integrity of the O.R. Tambo faces collection by presenting it at an exhibition that honours the legend it represents and everything he stood for. 

Exhibitions (selected)
  • 2008 – Artist Proof Studio – Print making second year class exhibition.
  • 2009 – Broken Patterns – The Solo Art Exhibition explores the distinct and highly personal images of Portrait Painter and Print-Maker Vusi Isaac Mbulali, Springs Art Gallery, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa.
  • 2011 – Art Bank Closing exhibition at Bus factory.
  • 2014 – 30|30Ekurhuleni Contemporary Group Art Exhibition 2014, Springs Art Gallery, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa.
  • 2017 – August House Open Studios and Group Exhibition, August House, 76 End Street cnr Moseley Street, Johannesburg
    • Oliver Tambo Centenary Coin Launch, OR Tambo Cultural Precinct, Wattville
    • The Oliver Tambo Centenary Memorial Lecture, Wits University, Great Hall, 1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
    • O.R. Tambo Corporate Golf Challenge, Euphoria Golf and Lifestyle Estate, Modimolle, Mookgopong, Limpopo.
    • Ekurhuleni Youth Entrepreneurship Summit 2017, Kgaswane street, 1550 Springs, Gauteng.
Workshops (selected)
  • 2013-2015 – Teaching and facilitating art exercises for young aspirant artists: Ekurhuleni Art Development School, September 2013 – May 2015, Geluksdal, Library Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa.
  • Dec 2013 – Feb 2014 – Star in Vire Art – community art developing.
  • September 2007 – Steve Biko Foundation – Facilitating portrait exercise as a youth developer at king Williams town Eastern cape.
  • 2012-2015 – Matshediso lsen School – Art teacher’s assistance.
Projects (selected)
  • 2007 – Urban Mural Art Project | Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, EGSC Building, Germiston, Gauteng, South Africa
Collections

Vusi Mbulali’s art is represented in the collections of the following selected institutions: Steve Biko Foundation, Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Gauteng Film Commission South Africa and other private collections.

The Oliver & Adelaide Foundation has partnered with Vusi Mbulali, an artist who created a series Oliver Tambo portraits to commemorate the centenary of his birth.

 

Vusi is influenced by O.R’s brilliance and powerful stature. The Faces series took Vusi on an exciting journey of discovery and expression: “With each stroke, I uncover a unique feature reflecting familiar characteristic of the beloved O.R. Tambo, sometimes a stalwart, and at other times the honourable expression of his face. This body of work is a tribute to a legend South Africa loves and honours.”

 

Vusi uses mixed media of soft pastel, charcoal, squashed and burned papers, acrylic and pastel on primed canvas to reproduce familiar images of O.R Tambo, originally in pictures. The produced work ranges from exceptionally detailed portraits to abstract interpretations. The completion of one work of art stirs up the inspiration and energy for the next, yet each one is unique in how it captures the subject. The final stroke is to maintain the integrity of the O.R. Tambo faces collection by presenting it at an exhibition that honours the legend it represents and everything he stood for.

 

Below are the Oliver Tambo portraits for sale by Vusi. If you would like to view the quality of the portraits in person, kindly contact the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation on 011-880-2680 or email us at info@tambofoundation.org.za to arrange an appointment.

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R45 000
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R45 000
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R35 000
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R40 000
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R40 000
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R35 000
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R50 000
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R50 000
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R35 000
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R30 000
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R35 000
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R35 000
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R50 000
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R40 000
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R40 000
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R60 000
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R65 000
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R45 000
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R45 000
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R65 000
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R55 000
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R30 000
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R50 000