Cape Town
, 20. February 2018
„I like very strong colours”

Interview with the South African Artist Mtini

Michael du Plooy, also widely known as Mtini, studied art at the University of Witwaterstrand in Johannesburg. Strong colours that reflect the South African attitude to life in an impressive way characterize his art. x-working made the journey and interviewed the artist in Gordons Bay, Western Cape.

x-working Mtini with his Flower Edition and Siegfried, our x-working representative for South Africa (from right to left)
Mtini with his Flower Edition and Siegfried, our x-working representative for South Africa (from right to left)

x-working: Mr. du Plooy, thank you very much for taking today`s interview with me. With which three words would you describe yourself?
Mtini: Colour, Texture and Love.

x-working: Who or what inspired you?
Mtini: The singer Sting inspired my writing. I will also say that a South African artist called Silvia de Villers is one of my biggest inspirations. Also I´m inspired by nature.

x-working: Your artist name is Mtini. Please let us know, what does this artist name mean?
Mtini: When my father died, I wanted to honor him with a memory. When I was small, he called me Tini. I hated it. And - when he died, I wanted to remember him. I took the M, the first letter of my name Michael, and I put it together with my father`s name when he called me “Tini”. That is how Mtini came about. Later on, I realized it had an African meaning. In Swahili, it refers to “under the beautiful tree”. I liked the meaning of the name. I compare myself with a beautiful tree. That is what my art is about. It is about nature, it is about beauty and colour. So, the name expresses now what I want to say. Sometimes people think it`s me trying to be an African. But, in identity I am real African. So maybe my art name says that although I`ve got a European name, I`m really African.

x-working: In which magazines can we admire your pictures?
Mtini: Photographs of my paintings appeared in the Drum Magazine and the Country Life Magazine. In the Country Life Magazine , they did an article on my gallery and on my paintings.

x-working: Your paintings are often characterized by a strong red tone. Do you like strong colours?
Mtini: I love strong colours. I`m influenced by the African sun. The light-quality we have in Africa as well as African arts that are also characterized by strong colours and strong contrasts. For me, I think European art is often toned down. I like the strong primary colours that you see in African art. That`s why I paint the bright sun, the big contrasts you see in greens and blues in nature here in South Africa especially.

x-working: I read that besides your art activities, you are also a florist, a barista (coffee specialist) and poet. In particular, you have published some poems in three different anthologies of African poetry. What is it that you find interesting in these fields?
Mtini: Well, African poetry is by nature very wild and very varied. I think what intrigues me the most is when I work with poets from Cape Town and the Western Cape. They`ve got a very unique voice and they speak of very unique people. I`ve met people who dealt with the history of The Koi (or San) people. And, their poetry talks about the peoples´ backlog in the modern society. That I find very interesting - and how Africans deal with the modern world.

x-working: You`ve presented your pictures in different exhibitions. Can you tell me something about where you presented this?
Mtini: My first exhibition was in Sea Point. It was titled “Rebirth” and it was about me entering the art world and becoming a new person. My second exhibition was in Vredehoek in Cape Town. That was called “Jehovah Nissi”, which means “The lord is my banner” in Hebrew. After that, I had exhibitions in Bloubergstrand, in “Kirstenbosch Gardens” and “Groot Constantia”. These were group-exhibitions that I did with The South African Society of Artists. And then, when I moved to Botrivier, I prepared and presented the exhibition “Femme Fatale”. That exhibition showed in Botrivier and Stellenbosch. In Stellenbosch, it was on invitation of the University of Western Cape, of the Psychology Department. Currently I`m working on a new exhibition, which I would do in my golf club. I´ve already booked that.

x-working: What are your plans for the future regarding art?
Mtini: Well, I am planning the exhibition in May close to mothers-day at The Strand Golf Club, where I also plan to launch my book. It will be my exhibition of flowers. Then I will be working on a new exhibition where I go from the female form to the male form.

x-working: Thank you very much for this interesting interview.
Mtini: Thank you very much.

© 2018 – x-working

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