Sibusiso Mbhele and His Fish Helicopter

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9781576871324: Sibusiso Mbhele and His Fish Helicopter

Sibusiso Mbhele And His Fish Helicopter is a cinematic look at the life and work of a visionary South African outsider artist who sparked the jealousy, wrath, and ultimate rejection of his own community with his wondrous creations of scrap metal flying machines.

Based on his eponymous film, originally screened in 2000 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Koto Bolofo’s first monograph documents a young, talented South African sculptor forced to flee his rural home—a full-sized, hand-built metal facsimile of a helicopter—which stood as an oddity against a background of traditional thatched huts in his African village.

Self-taught, Mbhele earned his living creating scrap metal sculptures of planes, cars, and bicycles from wire, car wrecks, oil tin drums, and other recycled materials. After making the headlines in the local newspapers, Mbhele’s neighbors, jealous of his recognition and success, destroyed his creations and his beloved helicopter home. They had him jailed, and though he was later released, the tension and threat of further trouble was enough to make Mbhele take flight from his precious helicopter haven and head for the security of the city and the unknown.

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About the Author:

Koto Bolofo was born in South Africa and until 1992 lived in exile in Europe as a political refugee. A top fashion and commercial photographer, Bolofo's portrait work has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Interview, GQ, Vogue, and Marie Claire, among others. In addition to "Sibusiso Mbhele and His Fish Helicoper," Bolofo has written, produced, and directed four other films shown at international film festivals over the past decade. He has exhibited his work in galleries in London and Paris, as well as the Louvre. Bolofo currently resides in France.; William Sloan is the Head of the Circulating Film and Video Library at The Museum Of Modern Art, NY.

From Library Journal:

Every now and then one stumbles upon a book with an unclear message and bizarre content, a book that perhaps should never have been published as it does a disservice to its subject by raising unrealistic expectations. This print version of a documentary film by South African filmmaker and photographer Koto Bolofo fits that description. It documents, mainly in pictures, the life and works of a self-taught recluse the depth of whose talent is neither obvious nor adequately demonstrated in the pages of the book. Interesting as Sibusiso Mbhele's story may be to those who have never made their own toys or played with ones constructed from waste materials and minimal technology, to produce a book from that experience and hope to sell it for $60 is as incredulous as it is absurd. There are no explanations or notes on any of the 126 illustrations that together with the protagonist's seven-page narrative make up the book. That narrative, despite its brevity, is inundated with spurts of incoherence. This is a disappointing volume, put together haphazardly and selling at an inflated price. Not recommended. Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, CUNY Coll. of Staten Island Lib., NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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