Bulumko Mbete, born in 1995, resides and practices in Johannesburg, South Africa, Through the use of textile, beading, and weaving, Mbete creates a framework that effectively communicates generational traditions and gestures of affection. Exploring the concept of materiality, her artistic pursuits extend to innovative methods of engaging with the archive and the art of telling stories.
Mbete's artistic practice involves delving into the South African archive, where she skillfully employs textiles to examine the interconnectedness and synchronicities within her own family, considering their relationship to South African history, migration, labour, farming, and love.
Her artworks and wider body of work are born out of contemplation on the iconography of textiles brought to South Africa through settler colonialism, and how these materials are reconstructed and assimilated into local practices. In her creations, she dismantles and fragments textiles, imbuing them with new and slightly abstract meanings and constructions.
Embedded within these textiles are narratives of migration, labour, culture, and the commodification of goods, all interwoven with the stories of the individuals who hold them as cherished keepsakes.