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Art meets Science: „From Plastic to Microplastic”

27.02.2020, 18.00

Art meets Science: „From Plastic to Microplastic”

After a first successful visit in 2019, South-African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi will be back at the Iwalewahaus this February. A number of public events will give the interested public an opportunity to watch his artistic process live and engage with the artist while he creates art from plastic waste.

The South African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi is known for creating impressive pieces of art. Impressive due to their size – some of them span 15 metres – and impressive due to the artist’s medium of choice. Buthelezi’s preferred material is plastic waste, which he cuts down and glues onto canvases thus creating the most extraordinary artwork. By giving garbage a second life as valuable pieces of art Mbongeni Buthelezi wants to convey hope but also create awareness for socioeconomic problems.

Following an invitation of the special research section (Sonderforschungsbereich/SFB) “Microplastics” of the University of Bayreuth and supported by Iwalewahaus as well as the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, Mbongeni Buthelezi will spend four weeks in Bayreuth. The artist’s stay will be flanked by a number of interesting events to create awareness for both the artist’s and the SFB’s work.

Starting on 10 February 2020, the public is invited to watch the artist’s creative process live at the historic and beautiful foyer of Iwalewahaus and engage with the artist in person. The artwork that will be created during this time will be displayed in a special exhibition, the opening of which will be celebrated on 27 February 2020. The opening will also mark the beginning of a unique and interesting science rally organized by the SFB Microplastic: From 28 February to 4 March 2020 scholars will be present at Iwalewahaus to give visitors an idea why plastic is a valuable material and why an improper disposal of one-way plastic has become a problem for our environment. There will be six stations inviting visitors to conduct experiments and find out first-hand about properties of various synthetics. They also learn about the challenges the research section Microplastic is confronted with and which solutions they have developed.  

The series of events will come to a close with a „Bayreuther Stadtgespräch“ titled „Das Kunststoffzeitalter: Unsachliche Berichterstattungen zum Thema Mikroplastik verunsichern Verbraucher. Was Forscher wirklich (nicht) wissen und zukunftsweisende Lösungsansätze“ on 4 March 2020. Established in 2014 by the University of Bayreuth, this monthly format gives scholars a chance to interact with the interested public. In March, Mbongeni Buthelezi und Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch (SFB Microplastic) will each give a presentation on their respective motivation and the impact they would like to have on society followed by a public discussion.


  • Starting 10.02.2020    Mbongeni Buthelezi works at Opernstraße 1-3 in Bayreuth (visits may be arranged)

  • 27.02.2020, 6 p.m.     Festive opening of the SFB Mikroplastik Science Rallye und Mbongeni Buthelezi’s art exhibition at        Iwalewahaus

  • 28.02-04.03.2020       Science Rallye and Exhibition

  • 04.03.2020, 6 p.m.     Bayreuther Stadtgespräch „Das Kunststoffzeitalter: Unsachliche Berichterstattungen zum Thema Mikroplastik verunsichern Verbraucher. Was Forscher wirklich (nicht) wissen und zukunftsweisende Lösungsansätze.“

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