Award winning artist Mlungisi Zondi is currently making waves in the performing arts industry in Brussels, Belgium. He recently attended a two month residency with Bains Connective there. His award winning live artwork, Silhouette, will be performed at KVS Brussels in April. He will return back home later this year.
Born in Clermont, Durban, Zondi graduated with a National Diploma in Drama and Performance Studies at Durban University of Technology in 2000. After completing his studies he worked in commercial and corporate theatre.
In 2006 Zondi won the prestigious MTN New Contemporaries Award, curated by Khwezi Gule at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, with a work titled ‘Silhouette,’ a collaborative piece with Ntando Cele. He worked for two years as a regional coordinator of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal (PANSA KZN), and a consultant for Cultural Radius Arts Consultants in 2005 until 2006.
Growing up as an orphan in an extended family was instrumental in encouraging Zondi to pursue his dream to perform. He started off as an active as a Pansula dancer, which made feel that performance allowed him to stand out and be special, in a home environment. This urged him to study with no financial means and he later worked as a petrol attendant for three years after matriculating saving money for his further studies.
Zondi creates performance for stage, gallery and public spaces. He works under the banner of Sololique Projacts, which was established in 2000 whilst still a student. This is a performance company he started with other collaborators such as his partner, Ntando Cele, a poet and actor. Sololique Projacts has established an extensive repertoire of works in drama and performing arts. His interest in making work in a visual arts context developed out of a sense that the contemporary dance world do not easily accept his brand of performance, and that in the early stages of his career positive feedback and encouragement were mostly received from visual artists and practitioners.
As a performer Zondi’s belief is to find creative ways through which to express himself and to find a style that will be celebrated in a variety of artistic platforms. Every time he creates a drama he tries to challenge himself to come up with a new style that will not only challenge his creativity but can also challenge the audiences’ engagement. He believes the audience should be able to engage with the work at a variety of levels.
His first venture occurred when he was invited to a residency in Switzerland in 2002. This provided him with an opportunity to perform at the Lausanne International Dance Festival. He draws his inspiration from Jay Pather (a lecturer at DUT in 2000) and Boyzie Cekwana, the latter a role model when a teenager.
Zondi has also been part of the Silhouette performance at Cape Africa Platform, Cape Town, Jomba Dance Festival in Durban, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, FNB Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg
MTN New Contemporary Awards Exhibition, Johannesburg Art Gallery, XeYed at Red Eye Art, Durban Art Gallery, Silhouette, performance of Center For National Dance, Paris in 2005 and Incognito, Red Eye Art, Durban Art Gallery.
In 2007 he went on a six months residency with the Seoul Performing Arts Company in South Korea. INCOGNITO, his latest production, is currently touring South Africa with funding assistance from National Arts Council of South Africa. It has been seen in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Mlu Zondi (Mr)
Mobile:(SA) +27 (0)83 364 7195
Belgium: +32 48 867 0131