Beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking artwork was seen from artists across South Africa at the 31st annual Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards hosted in Birchleigh last week Saturday.
Named after murdered resistance artist Thamasanqa Mnyele, who believed art has a social responsibility and can be a voice for people, this flagship project of the City of Ekurhuleni gives a platform to artists to reflect the world in which they live.
A total of 446 entries were received for this national competition.
Judges, who had the difficult task of choosing only one winner for the eight prizes, included Avitha Sooful (artist and lecturer at the University of Pretoria), Muntu Vilakazi (last year’s first prize winner), Lekgetho Makola (professional photographer), Sara Hallat (arts administrator) and Nkululeko Khumalo (artist and lecturer at Vaal University of Technology).
“The works we selected for this year’s awards are intriguing works that beg for attention in the way in which they were constructed,” a report from these judges read.
The first prize of R100 000 was awarded to Mlamuli Zulu from Ulundi, KwaZulu-Natal, for his mixed-media installation titled “Lost and Found Dead”.
The Ekurhuleni prize, worth R60 000, went to Roodekop in Germiston’s Charles Mphalele for a breathtaking photo of a woman titled “Legacy Series – Ukholo Lwam”.
Candice Kramer from Melrose in Johannesburg walked away with the coveted Lizamore and Associates Solo Exhibition and Mentorship prize. She will receive mentorship for six months and a solo exhibition.
The four merit award winners, who each won R20 000, also included Kramer, for her copper work titled “Reflection”.
The other winners were Helen Lotters from Pretoria for her detailed embossed work on paper titled “An Infinity of Thought”, Patrick Rulore from Hammanskraal for a realistic painting titled “The Shoe Repairer” and Aleza Pienaar from Johannesburg for her life-sized sculpture called “Stir Milk Buckets”.
The judges also saw potential in Philani Mhlungu from Soweto who received the Honourable Mention Award worth R15 000 for his powerful sculpture titled “Wonder/Remember Marikana 34”.
“I’d like to congratulate every artist who participated,” head judge Sooful said. “We saw the work of visionaries, who created art about topics nobody wants to talk about and made it digestible.”
Kempton Park art enthusiasts can view the winners’ work at an exhibition at the Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre in Mooifontein Road, Birchleigh North, until October 13 between 10am and 4.30pm. Other contestants’ work are also on display.