“My name is Mbulelo Faluti I’m from Soweto. I’m a model and creative entrepreneur who tells stories through the use of images as a way of breaking boundaries artistically and challenging daily norms.” For this project, Deviation, Mbulelo teamed up with visual artist The Darkroom Artist, jewelry brand Zurka Jewelry and Gift Makhubu for words.
“Collaboration is important to me”, he elaborates, “because it puts me in a position where I have a chance to meet different creatives with different ideas that we can fuse together to create something great. It’s like feeding on each other’s strength for a better outcome.”
“[It’s] a unique narrative of a young fashion trailblazer from a historical township.”
“The core intention of this series is to deviate from the norm through the use of aesthetically-African and Tribal-inspired jewelry”, writes Gift Makhubu . “Mbulelo Faluti incorporated this Afro-futuristic jewelry with his unique and stylish silhouette that he is well-known and admired for.
The images are an ideal deviation from the norm in contemporary media, fashion and street culture. There is clear sense of non-conformity to standard visual and artistic expectations.
The images ooze authenticity and a unique narrative of a young fashion trailblazer from a historical township called Orlando in Soweto.”
“Faluti’s Sowetan heritage is evident in his use of a crate of beer as a sit.”
“What inspires me to do what has do with where I come from and how I grew up”, says Mbulelo, “and wanting to change the narrative about art through storytelling in a way that reflects who I am.”
“The photographic and cinematic visual prowess of the Darkroom Artist was vital in creating these visually-stunning, retro-futuristic images which tell a story of a thousand words”, describes Gift. “The Darkroom Artist’s impeccable creative direction and ability to capture unique narratives is evident and was diligently enforced by the utilization of props.
“My highlights: Being able to collaborate with artists from where I live as a way of empowering each other.”
Faluti’s Sowetan heritage is evident in his use of a crate of beer as a sit. He is pictured sitting on a crate on top of a roof, an exact deviation from the norms set out by society. “
3Q’s with Mbulelo Faluti
What are your highlights so far?
My highlights so far- especially as young model and creator with no agency – is getting an opportunity to work with brands on an official basis. Being able to collaborate with artists from where I live as a way of empowering each other is a highlight.
What got you on the path you’re on?
The thing that put me on the path I’m on has to do with uncertainty of what I wanted to be or to do and always being around creative spaces meeting up with different personalities and always being on the net.
How can we support local creatives no matter our budget or time constraints?
I think you can support local creatives by increasing the platform for their work and being more accessible to who puts out their work on such a platform would be great.
Muse: Mbulelo Faluti
Photography and Art direction: The Darkroom Artist
Jewelry and styling: Zurka Jewelry
Writing by: Gift Makhubu
Edited and compiled by: Zoya Pon