Sipho Mabona

Born in Switzerland

Lives and Works in Luzern, Switzerland


Sipho Mabona has spent almost his entire life fascinated by paper and it’s possibilities. His start came with folding paper airplanes and has now graduated to much more complex arrangements and ideas. Born to South African and Swiss parents, Mabona has endeavoured to find a new meaning in the old art of Origami. 


In his 2 Dimensional wall hanging ‘Crease Patterns’ series Mabona is working to create Origami structures while also disassembling them to create new and diverse pattern arrangements. In this series he thinks of creating abstract forms and designs that he then either leaves in a monotone visual style or enhances to create interesting patterns. With each of his Crease Pattern artworks he is focused on metaphor and construction. If the viewer of the artwork to again fold the paper along the guideline and visual clues Mabona has created the Origami animals would again appear. In an unfolded manner, though, these creatures and creations lay in a more vague way. The titles give them their only real clue.  


With the Large Scale Animal Installations Mabona seeks to push the known and accepted boundaries of Origami to a certain extent. He creates compositions that play with the meaning of both the paper and what its folded entity can create. For example, for one of Mabona’s largest ever installation pieces he created a single sheet of paper measuring approximately 50 square feet. Moistening the paper to give it flexibility he and a team of assistants spent hours and hours creating a large scale replica of an elephant. In the large scale replica of the Rhino the artist continues his experiments with large single sheets of paper that are folded and creased. In other installations Mabona will group species he has created to form new meanings and metaphors. In each and every work Mabona creates, whether large or small, his main interest is in the craftsmanship needed to create beautiful lines and shapes which then gives him a visual pleasure that simple 2D work can not easily accomplish.