I was privileged enough to have ten minutes of Mbongeni's undivided time. In my telephonic interview with him, I realised that you shouldn't just look at waste as waste. He made me realise that art doesn't have to be conventional in order to be good. The most unconventional art, to me, is the greatest. If you can create something amazing and beautiful by using something that other people regard as waste, you are a truly great artist.
Mbongeni creates collages out of melted plastic. It all started in 1991, he studied at the African Institute of art. They had to experiment with different materials, as resources were scarce and expensive, Mbongeni started experimenting with waste. It is amazing what he creates out of things we throw in the trash. It is also a form of recycling, by recreating waste plastic.
Throughout the years of working with plastic, Mbongeni has mastered the art of which plastic turns into which colour when melted. He then starts creating the colourful collage on a PVC covered frame, as melted plastic will not stick to any other material. Mbongeni recently did an artwork for the new DaVinci Hotel in Johannesburg, it stretches 35 meters in length, 4 meters in hight and took about five month of hard working days and late nights to complete. It is absolutely amazing and can be seen in the Visi 50th issue.
As a kid, Mbongeni's parents saw him growing up to become a Doctor or Lawyer and were pretty surprised when he told them he wants to be an artist. Today they would have been so proud of his success, innovation and amazing art pieces. Even though it was a phone conversation I could see that Mbongeni is not only a great artist, but a great human being who cares about others and the future of this country. He creates the artworks, not only because of the love and passion for it, but also with the hope to inspire others and show them that you do not need money to do something with your life. Opportunities are all around us, we just need to open our eyes and believe and respect ourselves. I was truly inspired by him and really admires his art. Maybe one day I will own my own Mbongeni plastic collage...