No Art Supplies? No Problem for SA’s Coffee Artist

Riyaz Patel

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Enoch Mlangeni can’t afford art supplies, so he uses coffee instead.

The 27-year-old from Sasolburg stumbled on this innovative form of art when he spilled coffee on a piece of art and could not get rid of the stain.

He has gone viral on social media since then for his portraits of famous people such as Trevor Noah and internationally acclaimed DJ Black Coffee.

“Coffee it’s a messy medium. You can do a lot of mistakes while you are working with it. But it teaches you something about art that each and every mark is important when you are doing art. There is no right mark there is no wrong mark. But you can always make a, turn a mistake into something beautiful,” he said with a smile.

Mlangeni’s love for art goes beyond coffee. He dreams of going to art school, but doesn’t have the money.

“Art to me is my life, it’s who I am. It is something that defines me and being able to realize my talent, and being able to practice, it means a lot to me. It’s a gift that I can never exchange with anything,” the self-taught artist said.

While painting a portrait of President, Cyril Ramaphosa, Mlangeni said he hoped Ramaphosa’s term in office will bring the much-needed change the youth are looking for.

“As the new president of South Africa, we’ve, we’ve been having so many issues in South Africa, and we hope that…as he’s the new president, he’ll come, he’ll bring, he’ll bring some changes as he calls himself, ‘the new dawn’. So, we hope, we really hope that this is indeed the ‘new dawn’ cause we have so many issues in South Africa; the high unemployment rate,” he said while shading in his piece with darker mixtures of coffee.

Social media has helped Mlangeni’s overcome the lack of access to galleries and collectors that come with living in a Sasolburg township.

Mlangeni’s portraits and paintings range between R12,000.00 and R15,000.00.

He puts aside a portion of his sales for the art centre he hopes to start in his neighborhood. It will contain a studio where he can work and exhibit alongside other artists.

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