Ayke Ezeani
by on January 23, 2019

Ayke: What informed fine art as a career?

Mondli "THE ARTIVIST" Kunene: I have always been known to be extremely creative, from early childhood development to problem solving skills, to the artworks from my early days of life to what I am creating now, as far as Fine Art is concerned. Lastly, a lot of people do not understand the value of Art and power that Art has in influencing thoughts of the masses viewing the piece of Art.

Ayke: What’s your strongest memory of your childhood in art?

Mondli: Selling my first MONDLIART® piece to my then Afrikaans language Educator turned colleague and friend, while I was in the 9th grade. I sold it for R95.00, and bought myself better quality paintbrushes

Ayke: How has your practice changed over time?

My techniques and style are very unique, from how I come up with the narratives for each MONDLIART® piece, to the actual execution of them. I do NOT use any background drawings or use blocks or paint by numbers like all artists around the world do; I think about what I want to communicate and then directly start painting, NO pencil/pen/charcoal/blocks or any form of background preparation onto a canvas/board as a guideline of how the painting must look like. After I conducted a research, I have come to know that there is no one in the world before and after Leonardo Da Vinci's existence created paintings like I do nor used the techniques and style that I am using, to this day and THAT is what distinguishes me from everyone else.

Ayke: What is the role of the artist in our society?

Raise awareness about social contentious issues within their communities, countries, continent and how they resonate to.the rest of the world. THAT is what I am known for. I do not aim to create "beautiful" work, ART is BEAUTY within itself, my mandate is to provoke thoughts in masses, one MONDLIART® piece at a time.

Ayke: Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Mondli: (1) Being an Educator then retired before 30 to become a full-time self employed ARTIVIST.  (2) In my 11th grade I got to befriend the late great Speelman Mahlangu (South African world-renowned Visual Artist) and he gave me oil paints to work with after he saw my MONDLIART® pieces. I was on South African news a couple of times, Minister Nathi Mthethwa knows MONDLIART®, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has a portrait that I did of her, American rapper, songwriter and affiliate of Dr. Dre' s N.W.A, THE D.O.C, is aware of MONDLIART®. In 2016 I was the only Visual Artist cordially invited to exhibit art at the 20th Anniversary signing of constitution of South Africa in Sharpeville. I have recently created two murals in Sharpeville (a township rich in horrific events happening during Apartheid era) commemorating Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu's centenary celebration 2018. This year I am going to exhibit at the 2019 Design Indaba in Cape Town, from February 27-1st of March.

Ayke: What type of art do you most identify with?

Mondli: No one does what I do in terms of Art movements in the History of Art. My work is original and cannot be forged nor replicated because of the techniques and style I use to create. I also personally cannot repeat a MONDLIART® piece once I have done creating it, but I can make it look better if I have to redo it

Ayke: What provokes that artistic animal in you, either to inspire or upset you?

Mondli: The TRUTH! I grew up listening to 90's Rap music, Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, Biggie, Nas, Rakim, KRS-1, Diddy and those guys told the TRUTH about social contentious issues within their respective communities and how they are overcoming them using their crafts. What upsets me is the fact that alot of work in terms of exposing the TRUTH to the masses STILL needs to be done, I am playing my role but other creatives are not using their crafts to stimulate the minds of the masses. They want to be politically correct, in order to be paid to be part of the puppetry going on all over the world. I DON'T follow the okey dokey.

Ayke: What technique do you normally use to express yourself?

Mondli: I paint a lot

Ayke: Which African renowned artist will you like to work with on a project and why?

Mondli: In South Africa, Dr. Esther Mahlangu, she is related to my late friend and mentor, the late great Speelman Mahlangu, she has kept original ideas of Ndebele Tradition alive and taken them all over the world. Overseas, Kanye West, Dr. Dre. Both musicic producers and rappers and influence my life so much that when I create MONDLIART® pieces, 90% of the music I am playing on my playlist belongs to them or produced by them.

Ayke: Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?

Mondli: My smooth! I am insanely obsessed with fine detail, and the more detailed the subject is the more subtlety I use to create it the more sophisticated it looks, henceforth I always said, Leonardo Da Vinci was wrong when he said Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, "SUBTLETY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION"-Mondli "THE ARTIVIST" Kunene

Ayke: Ayke: What is your dream art project?

Mondli: Get high school kids that are exceptionally talented in Fine Art, polish them up and we tour the African continent, exhibiting and exchanging ideas with other creative youngsters, this should be done with all highly creative kids from each country in Africa. I believe its time we told our own stories, authentically too at that!

Ayke: Where can we view most of your art works?

Mondli: My website: https://mondliartbymondlikunene.wordpress.com/blog

Mondli: Facebook: @Hang a Mondli on Your Wall

Mondli: Twitter: @mondliart

Ayke: Will you upload some of your art works on RadioVybe

Mondli: Most definitely! What VYBE would I be transmitting to the audience if I don't?  MONDLIART® is MUST be enjoyed by everyone, as much as the Elite are the ones that acquire more MONDLIART® pieces, it doesn't mean I have neglected the average person, for when the Elite are no longer there, the average that made me be on social platforms will forever be there for me. THAT is why I also have a MONDLIART® special whereby I create black inkpen drawings on A4 sized page for R500 and I deliver anywhere in the world, the client sends a pic they want me to capture for them, and within 2 days, I am complete with it. I also have MONDLIARTees which range from R200-R300. These are tshirts with MONDLIART® pieces and cool MONDLIART® designs printed on t-shirts.

Ayke: Where do you feel art is going in South Africa?

Mondli: There are gate keepers, vanguard of the old traditions which benefited more White people than Black ones and THAT needs to end. What happened in the past happened BUT it must end. Artists must be credited, paid, acknowledged and supported at all times. We inspire LIFE.

Ayke: How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?

Mondli: I do not only limit myself to work on canvas I work with boards too, they are raw, not famcy and have stories behind them, like a MONDLIART® piece titled #NithiUbaniOcaptured (you anc google this hashtag), created 2017, I used an old science lab desk that was removed from a science lab of the school I taught in and that I am also a product of. #NithiUbaniOcaptured was created to raise awareness about the truth within the context of South Africa being captured by White Monopoly Capitalists, looting minerals and human resources as remnants of Apartheid. I feel awesome when I am creating, so.much that I forget to eat, that I have a cellphone, where I am , I forget everything and just focus and feel great, bearing in mind that 90's and early 2000 rap music in repeat... it's insane beauty! Like a cold shower I take daily, whether its hot or cold as far as the temperature is concerned outside.

Ayke: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by any artist?

Mondli: "BRA MONDLI, SPANA MFANA WAMI, SPANA"- Speelman Mahlangu

Mondli: Translation: "Mondli my brother, you MUST work hard"

Mondli: "It's all in a Day's Work"- Dr. Dre featuring Anderson Paak

Ayke: If you are not doing art, how do you relax?

Mondli: Lay flat on the floor naked, listening to Coldplay albums and Anderson Paak's oxnard album. Worst case scenario, I take a 20-30min cold shower, come out without drying myself off, and lay down til I pass out sleeping, Coldplay playing in the background ofcourse.

Ayke: What wouldn’t you do without?

Mondli: My FAITH. God sent me to break the chain, all these other artists are vain.

Mondli: Thank you for this opportunity. I highly appreciate it Ayke! Shout out to RadioVybe and all the Vybers out there!


Ayke: Thank so much for talking to RadioVybe



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