Bukhosi “Mzi” Nyathi is a young multi-disciplinary artist who rediscovered himself in art
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
His work is poignant and blatant. It invokes questions about social imbalance, abuse of power and religion in the world. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, a country known for political turmoil under the thumb of Robert Mugabe, Bukhosi’s social activism comes as no surprise. “I want to use my work to make people aware,” he explains. “The revolution must begin now not later when all that is left are just corpses.”
I want to use my work to make people aware.The revolution must begin now not later when all that is left are just corpses.
Bukhosi’s talent unveiled itself at an early age. He jokes that he used to copy all his sisters books and magazines. But it only made its presence felt after he graduated from high school in Bulawayo. He enrolled at the Mzilikazi Arts and Craft centre for a two-year certificate in Fine Art. “When I studied art I was so amazed at how many platforms you could explore. I didn’t know that I could paint too. I believe that’s where I started to see myself as a multi-disciplinary artist,” he says.
After he graduated, Bukhosi migrated to South Africa. He later enrolled at Funda Center for a diploma in Fine Art, majoring in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. He began showing his work at various exhibitions like the historic Museum for Africa. The work also found its way to the Netherlands. He describes his work as purely “contemporary semi-abstract art.”
“ However, I don’t like to place my work or myself into a specific category because I am a versatile artist. I think I would be comfortable with the multi-disciplinary artist category because as an artist or a messenger you cannot be restricted,” he says. .
I reconnected with art because it’s something that I had been missing and something that truly made me feel alive. Producing art-works is like giving birth. Creating works of art is very therapeutic for me. It healed me in my darkest hour.
Despite displaying natural and impeccable talent, Bukhosi’s journey has been anything but fluid. Trying to make ends meet, he found himself in what he describes as a slave yard. He worked in Cape Town as an art facilitator. His job entailed teaching kids how to paint, throwing art parties and exhibitions. The job didn’t leave any room for him to practise as an artist and he sank into a deep depression. “It was like getting lost or being shipwrecked on an island. You are surrounded by strangers and people you cannot relate to. And you feel like everyone is out to get you. It’s just a place of savages.The only way to survive is to swim out of that island to a sea full of sharks up until you make it back home to yourself,” he says.
Feeling himself slipping away, he knew that the only way to be free was to rekindle his life-affirming romance with art. “I reconnected with art because it’s something that I had been missing and something that truly made me feel alive. Producing art-works is like giving birth. Creating works of art is very therapeutic for me. It healed me in my darkest hour,” he says.
He boldly states that now art is his plan A and plan B, that the only way to make it in the art landscape is to make it work. Despite the flood of struggles always on the surface, he insists he will never turn his back on his love again. “Anything after this, is this”, he says with unwavering confidence.”
View Bukhosi’s work at www.ubukhosi.co.za