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Celebrating 100 Years of the Coca-Cola Glass Bottle Exhibition – Kabelo Modise

kabelo Modise (4)


As I work a lot with contour lines in most of my work, the Coca Cola contour bottle was just the perfect focus to venture into and take it to the next level of its branding. The only difference was the popular culture behind the contour bottle and what a privileged to explore the popular culture behind the bottle in line with my line signature of creating drapery in every work of art I do or inspired. I believe in something which repeats itself as part of my inspiration. The repeated pattern in each an ever subject matter really pulls my focus to the point of losing the real subject matter as the main focus but rather make it an illusion within the concept.

Contour Bottle as it is known, became part of my drapery signature as an artist. It blended well with my current concept of embracing Coca Cola since last year. The bottle became a stepping stone to accelerate my love for it and the freedom to embrace it to the next level. I think there is a difference between branding and embracing the contour bottle. My ideology is that I am embracing the bottle in a visual aspect and looking further to embrace it in different mediums of art. I feel that if the bottle can repeat its popularity through the years/century, why not embrace it though my linocut medium and painting medium. I had found it a perfect combination to work with and my lines portray movement within the subject matter and I try so much to engage the viewer in an optical manner rather than just still imagery. More drapery in my work is about tricking the eye at its best and by so doing there will be some movement between the artwork and the viewer. The more the viewer squint and bounces back and forth in trying to depict/ look at the imagery of my work, the more I feel content and applauding my accomplishment. It’s not all about hiding the concept or making it difficult to look at, it’s all about the visual practice of embracing the popular culture of the Coca Cola contour bottle.

Celebrating 100 Years of the Coca-Cola Glass Bottle Exhibition – Mbongeni Buthelezi


                                                   Boys at play, 272x185cm, 2007

In the short space of sixteen years Mbongeni Buthelezi has made a name for himself as a professional artist of note. He has emerged as a powerful force in the Visual Arts in South Africa and Internationally in the 21st century.
Before coming to Funda Community College in 1986 Buthelezi lived in his hometown of Springs, studying art privately with artist Lucky Moema. Buthelezi received lessons in perspective and drawing from Moema in exchange for bread and tea. Eventually he made his way to Johannesburg, where he began studying at Funda.
Buthelezi originally started as a part-time student who wanted to be a sculptor. At the centre, however, he met Charles Nkosi, who convinced Buthelezi to try out other media, including drawing and painting. In 1989 Buthelezi won his first prize, the top honour in a drawing and design competition hosted by South African Breweries.
Determined to be an artist, he enrolled at Funda full-time. Buthelezi had to look for alternative materials, because he couldnt afford to buy expensive paints and canvases. In a workshop with a Swiss artist who used plastic as canvas for his artworks Buthelezi got his initial inspiration. His idea was to use plastic not only as a canvas but also to paint with this cheap material one can find everywhere. Soon he found himself experimenting with a heat gun, applying the melted material onto a black plastic background. In that year he received best marks for his plastic works and from then on he continuously improved his technique- making a virtue out of necessity. Buthelezi has consulted the Plastics Federation of South Africa on the technical and health considerations of using plastic.
Buthelezi was hired as a part-time lecturer at Funda in 1990. In 1992 Buthelezi completed his courses. He continued teaching part-time and ultimately became a member of the full-time teaching staff, as he currently remains. Since then he has also received commissions and several prizes in addition to SA Breweries, he has won awards from Development Bank of Southern Africa, Martel V.O., and Momentum Life, to name a few. In 2007 Buthelezi was a semi-finalist for the Sasol Wax Art Award and in 2010 he was nominated as a top ten finalist for the Absolut VISI Designer of the year award.
Buthelezi’s recycling of plastics into artworks is a symbol of hope in this new age. Buthelezi was presented with the Weekly Mail and Guardian Green Trust Award for his commitment and contributions to the environment. He was honoured by the judges for his social conscience, creativity and sheer hard work.

Celebrating 100 Years of the Coca-Cola Glass Bottle Exhibition – Tony (Nozipho) Gum


Pin-up - Black Coca Cola Series, Edition: 2/10, Fuji crystal archival print. Dibond mounted, 70 x 81cm.

Pin-up – Black Coca Cola Series, Edition: 2/10, Fuji crystal archival print. Dibond mounted, 70 x 81cm. Image Copyright Tony (Nozipho)Gum

Tony Gum, a young black woman artist from Langa in the Western Cape. Her decision to fuse a specific brand – Coca Cola – with an array of projected identities, ranging from the matriarch in traditional Xhosa costume to the West End Playboy Bunny, marks a newly minted ironic and playful take on the ubiquitous and morbid preoccupation with Identity Politics. In Tony Gum’s case it is the fusion of the African exotic, the ethnic traditional, the Afropolitan urban chic, and the iconic Bunny Girl which allows for a new framework, or prism, through which to see contemporary African art.

All importantly, it is Tony Gum’s wit, her lightness and playful irony which sets the work apart for therein we find no grim exploitation of a historical pain, no entitled supremacist black youth culture, no iconic imprisoning of black beauty, and no gratuitous play with emptiness. Rather, Tony Gum seems to have freed herself from a history of oppression – be it racial, cultural, or sexual – and, seemingly single-handedly, recreated herself as a mercurial aesthetic intelligence. Her work, remarkably sophisticated for someone so young, harks back to the genius of Moshekwa Langa, for Tony Gum, even as she plays fast-and-loose with the most ubiquitous and toxic imperial brand, is nevertheless giving us something fresh. Acknowledged by Art South Africa as a ‘Bright Young Thing’, Tony Gum seems set to make a major contribution to the booming Contemporary African Market. She is the new ‘plastiglomerate’ – the artist best able to splice the mortal with the synthetic, high art and trash, the better to capture the radio-active buzz of this art moment.

Artists Statement

Tony Gum’s fresh and energetic imagery has attracted national attention. With gusto she is producing a new prism With which to view African contemporary art and culture. Her latest project Black Coca – Cola features an array of projected identities that she has beautifully spliced together with the global iconic Coke brand. Coke has conventionally
been famous for their pop culture branding and Gum has successfully melded the pop feel with dynamic Xhosa garb, African exotic’, ‘Afropolitan’ urban chic and the archetypal ‘Bunny Girl’. Through the power of the visual, Gum aims to show a pathway to embracing Western brands, while remaining true and proud of one’s heritage. Her inspiration and
message behind the Black Coca-Cola series, is creating an African representative for the popular beverage, giving the coke brand a uniquely African feel. Her imagery creates an intimate link between the brand and the ‘people’. Gum is proud of her African heritage, but she is equally happy to fuse with Western brands, she has the best of both worlds

text by Christopher Moller Gallery

Honoring our Masters: Patrick Kagiso Mautloa


Opening : 19 August 2014 – Venue: Eyethu Lifestyle centre :  Cnr . Machaba dr & Kinini Street Mofolo Central Soweto. – Time: 7pm to 10pm

Untitled,arcylic on paper,2009.135x145cm

Untitled,Arcylic on paper,2009. 135x145cm

Honoring our Masters 

‘Honoring our Masters’ is an idea initiated by the visionary arts group Mashumi Art Projects and Eyethu Lifestyle Centre.

The idea is centered around the recognition of artists, born and bred, in South Africa’s foremost township known as Soweto. The honor’s exhibition is driven by the aspect that such artists should be recognized for their notable contribution in the field of Fine Arts by locale. By so doing raise awareness as well as to establish an audience for visual arts in the townships.

Mashumi Art Projects in association with Eyethu Lifestyle Centre is tasked with the mounting of an exhibition in honor of the artist’s prosperous career.

Pat Mautloa born 1952. Obtained his Diploma in Fine Art at the prestigious ELC in Rorke’s drift in KZN. He then went on to teach at FUBA (Federated Union For Black Artists) from the early 1980’s and was instrumental in the establishment known as the Thupelo Gallery during his time there. He has since participated in several local and international exhibitions alongside his contemporaries. He is now based at the Fordsburg Artists Studio popularly known as the Bag Factory.

It is interesting for me to be part of ART WEEK JOBURG 2014. This helps to re-foster art in our communities and helps communities to know about local artists. For me it would be a mini retrospective having work dating from more or less the time I started doing art. Quite exciting that I would be showcasing in the place I lived around since I came to Mofolo in 1954.” Pat Mautloa

Master’s Exhibition vol. 1: Pat Mautloa Retrospective

The first of yet many to come. The exhibition looks at acknowledging artists from Soweto who contributed significantly to the visual arts of South Africa.

Soweto has seen many a artist reaching international acclaim and recognition in this field. However, the township’s general populace remains unaware of such feats by artists such as Bra Pat, his contemporaries and predecessors, in South African visual arts. In this light the exhibition is an open invitation to the masses to come and indulge during this display of artistic splendor that has seen Pat Mautloa becoming a widely renowned artist.

The focus of the exhibition takes a look at Pat’s collection of work’s, his most recent and dating back to his earliest work’s as a painter. The exhibition will run concurrently with the Joburg Art week commencing on Tuesday, the 19th August 2014 until 12 September 2014.


Located in the heart of Soweto, Eyethu Lifestyle Centre boasts great facilities for different types of events. The venue is located near an entertainment icon, the old Eyethu cinema.


Museum Art Projects (Pty) Ltd established in 2013. The company is committed to creating a formidable base that enshrines cross-cultural values for practitioners and awareness locally and internationally. It is tasked with carving a tangible niche through vertical and horizontal communications to firmly position Soweto, Gauteng Arts & Culture events, workshops, local/and international exhibitions, panel discussions and art residencies. Soweto, given its strategic role before/within the past apartheid political scenario needs to be interwoven with the arts and culture landscape. This is a much needed vehicle that is aimed at a succinct value addition to the proudly South African adage.

Kinini Street, Soweto 1801, South Africa