Wonder Mbambo is a Durban based artist from Kwa-Ngcolosi. His interest in art began when he was 9 years old.
He says that from an early age he was encouraged by his mother to explore art as a career. After finishing High School he received his first formal training in art during the one year’s AIR (1) course held at the BAT Centre, Durban. Thereafter he studied Fine Art through the velobala program at DUT (2) under Themba Shibase.
To express his ideas, he works in charcoal, soft pastel and acrylic paint on fabriano paper . His major subject matter in art focuses on social realities including politics, and on stereotypes associated with men. At present, he is working at the BAT Centre as an Artist in Residence.
He has attended numerous art workshops and classes held at the Durban Art Gallery, the DUT and courses outside Durban.
These include an art workshop which explored contemporary art held at the Edel Studio in Bremen, Germany and The Art of Colour, a course organized by Plascon, held in Johannesburg . He has taught drawing and painting at the BAT Centre and he assisted in Don’t Panic, an exhibition held at the Durban Art Gallery.
He has participated in public art projects including working on mosaics and murals for the BAT Centre and for Lindelani School in Durban which was organized by the Department of Arts and Culture. He has also taken part in various art workshops and has exhibited in art galleries nationally as well as in Bremen, Germany in 2012. His work was included in numerous exhibitions held locally at the Durban Art Gallery, Artspace gallery, the BAT Centre, the DUT and the African Art Centre, as well as on group exhibitions held in Bremen Germany, in Johannesburg, at the Margate Art Museum and in Cape Town. He undertook a mural commission for Nandos and his work is represented in private collections in South Africa and abroad.
He says: My work looks at the body- particularly a man’s body - as a container of a host of different emotions. Since men hardly ever talk about issues that bother them they box up these emotions which end up by exploding out of their body in a form of violence. In my works I expose these elements which are perpetuated in patterns of aggression in the present South African context in which all men are painted with the same brush being seen as wild creatures. My work interrogates such issues focusing on different angles of life within spaces at large. My painting entitled The Man with a Secret is an illustration of my philosophy.
(1) Artists in Residency (AIR) Program
(2) Durban University of Technology