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Monday, November 24, 2008


Standard Bank celebrates 25 years of supporting South Africa’s young artists

Standard Bank, one of the leaders in art sponsorship, has announced its Young Artist award-winners for 2009, celebrating 25 years of sponsorship of the arts.

These awards, seen as one of the most prestigious of their kind in the country, honour young South African artists who have not yet gained widespread national exposure or acclaim, but who are making a significant mark in their field. The awards honour and actively promote the talent of these young artists, providing them with a platform for experimentation of new innovative concepts and ideas. Besides providing them with financial support, it gives recognition to their talent.

The winners of the 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards are as follows: Nicholas Hlobo (Visual Art); Jacques Eugene Imbrailo (Music); Ntshieng Mokgoro (Drama); Kesivan Naidoo (Jazz), and Thabo Rapoo (Dance).

In acknowledging Standard Bank’s involvement, Mandie van der Spuy, Head of Arts and Jazz Sponsorship, had this to say, “As a bank we are committed to sponsoring the arts in South Africa and believe the awards play a vital role in nurturing our talent. Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the Young Artist Awards over 25 years has contributed to the development of our country's up-and-coming artists. We have observed the various winners develop over the years and are proud of these results and of our committed role in developing South African talent.”

As part of their prize, each of the winners will be featured on the Main Programme of the 2009 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (July 2 to 11, 2009). This platform gives them the license to present a new innovative piece of work which audiences will see for the first time.

This year’s winner for dance, Thabo Rapoo, wants to use this opportunity to create a platform for his fellow performers. “To be honoured in one’s own country must rate extremely high on anyone’s books and with this one-of-its-kind award in South Africa, I feel truly blessed, and it means a lot to me,” said a delighted Thabo. “I want to thank Standard Bank for the good they are doing, for South African audiences, and for the arts community in general.”

“I am humbled and feel so honoured to receive this prestigious award,” said writer and director, Nthshieng Mokgoro, this year’s drama award winner. “What this actually means is that all my hard work and dedication in the industry of theatre has finally paid off, and it really feels good to be recognised and be appreciated.” For Ntshieng, this award means working even harder than before. “The award does not mean I have arrived, but this is the beginning of great things to come my way. I intend to use this platform of exposure wisely and creatively.”

Music award-winner Jacques Imbrailo, who has been studying overseas, will perform for the first time in Grahamstown. He said, “It means a great deal to me to be recognised back home for my hard work over the last five years. Not only do I get the opportunity to perform at the National Arts Festival but also my parents will be able to come and hear me sing. It is just such a lovely festival to be part of.”

Kesivan Naidoo, drummer and winner of the Jazz Award said, “I have dreamed of this award since I was first made aware of it, as I have friends in the industry who have won it in the past. However, it came as a wonderful surprise and has given me the confidence that I need at such a vital time in my career. Standard Bank have been truly supportive, particularly in the jazz genre,” he said.

Nicholas Hlobo knew about the awards but never dreamed that he would have the opportunity to exhibit in Grahamstown as the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art. “I am truly honoured to have been chosen and hope to give audiences something new and innovative,” he enthused.

The Chairperson of the National Arts Festival, Sibongile Khumalo (past winner, 1993) has nothing but praise for Standard Bank. “They have been a committed sponsor of the arts in South Africa for over 25 years and we as a nation owe them much appreciation.” Standard Bank celebrates this 25-year sponsorship with the commitment to continue honouring young artists in the future. Over 95 young artists have been recognised for their work since the awards’ inception in 1981.

The 2009 National Arts Festival runs from July 2 to 11. Further information at