Mpumelelo Buthelezi


I was born in the heart of the struggle, in Pimville in Soweto, Johannesburgʼs largest township, a sprawl of formal and informal housing where culture drummed the heartbeat of resistance. I was born in the year of democracy, 1994. They call us the Born Frees but education didnʼt come free. I taught myself to become a photographer. I did it because I wanted to interpret the time and place I was born into, to tell the untold stories of the communities of my country, to present them as narratives, full lives lived in the margins. My parents had a different dream for me, their born free child. I was sent to study formally and I obtained a Diploma Degree in Engineering at the Central Johannesburg College in 2016 even though I knew I would never become an
engineer. Everyone knew about the famous Market Photo Workshop, home to David Goldblatt and Zanele Muholi, and thatʼs where I studied photojournalism and documentary photography, graduating in 2017, the year that protesting students finally won the first signs of a free education. He has exhibited his work at Market Photo Workshop student Gallery in Johannesburg, Social Art Award in Germany, Transitions Rotterdam Foto
Festival in Netherlands, as well as a solo exhibition at WeTilt in Italy, He was on an artist- residency programme with Sir Prof Zanele Muholi (Muholi Productions) and Betive Holdings. He is currently on another virtual artist – residency with wendy network for arts unchained. He lives and works in Johannesburg.

Muholi Arts Projects Studio Artist Residency (Zanele Muholi)
Afterillusion virtual Artist Residency
Uganda Press Photo Award Portfolio Review 2020
Steveson Gallery Portfolio review 2020

Foto Schiedam Festival 2020 (Netherlands)
Rotterdam Photo Festival (Netherlands)
Kampala Photo Biennale 2020/2021 (Uganda)
Continue the voice issue 6 2021
Deku Unu Magazine 2020
Afterillusion Zine Photobook 2020
Solo Exhibition
WeTilt Gallery 2019 (Italy)

Selected Group Exhibitions
Market Photo Workshop End Year Student Showcase 2017
Urban Gaze Photo Exhibition 2019
Gauteng Youth Expo Exhibition 2019
Joburg Fringe 2020
Gerald Moore Gallery 2020
Person and the otherness of nature 2020
Graduate Virtual Exhibition 2020
Push/Pull Exhibition in Toto 2020
Critiquex International Art Exhibition 2020
Turbine Art Fair TAF Paper Exhibition 2020
Workers Museum Group Exhibition 2020

Nikon Yellow Photo Competition 2nd Prize winner 2018
Top 100 Finalist of Thami Mnyele Fine Arts 2019
Standard Bank Journalism Awards Finalist 2019
Social Art Award 2019/2020 Germany
Johannesburg Arts Council Certificate of Recognition 2020

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