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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


(Pic: Nhlanhla Khuzwayo’s winning design)

KZN designers shine in outreach initiative.

The Sasol Wax Art Award and Department of Arts and Culture Jewellery Outreach Initiative (SWAA DAC JOI) is an exciting public private partnership which has injected new vigour into the jewellery design industry in South Africa. Developed by Sasol Wax Art Award, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, this programme identifies skills development and technical excellence in jewellery design as a priority.

Bringing together students from tertiary facilities (University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology) with students from community organizations (Imfundiso Jewellery School in Soweto and Cullinan and Velobala in Durban), the programme acts as a catalyst for exchange of ideas and expertise, and fast tracks skills development.

This programme provides skills training, and encourages creative exchange between the two parties in each centre and had been implemented as part of the curriculum in each institution. The programme also forms a competition whereby the students compete with each other in categories for prizes, bursaries and valuable equipment which will assist them in realizing their dreams of becoming practicing jewellery design professionals.

Finalists’ innovative designs were on display at the Sanlam South Africa Fashion Week in August. Reviews about the display were pouring in as thousands of people visiting the expo expressed their excitement of creativity from the students.

This year’s students participants were asked to create jewellery along the theme of ‘minerals’. Given the short space of time, the quality of concept and design demonstrated by the students of the community based organization was recognised as exceptional. The principles of design applied by the students from all groups were far superior to those anticipated by the organisers.

The winners of the SWAA DAC JOI competition were recently selected by a panel of 8 judges made up of industry experts, among other were Liz Loubser (lecturer and contemporary Jeweller), Geraldine Fenn (Founder of contemporary Jewellery collective) and Mentor Marchand von Tonder well-known contemporary jeweller. Students competed in the Ring piece, Neck piece and the Open Categories for prizes amounting to R15,000 per category for the first prize winners.

Winner in the Ring piece Category was Nhlanhla Khuzwayo of the Velobala community group in KZN who received R15,000 in equipment and materials. A Merit Prize was awarded to Grace Potelwa (from Velobala Community Group, KZN).

Winner in the Neck Piece Category was Taryn Coleman of the Durban University of Technology who received a bursary worth R15,000. Siphelele Manqele (also of DUT) received a Highly Commended for her design.

In the Open Category, the R15,000 bursary first prize went to Tessa Hume, a third year student at the Durban University of Technology with fellow DUT third year student Romela Mudlay receiving a Highly Commended for her design.

The winning works from the SWAA DAC JOI were recently exhibited at the Sasol wax art award Finalists Exhibition at the University of Johannesburg. The same collection will travel to Durban in 2009 where it will be on display at the KZNSA Gallery from February 24 to March 21.

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