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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


(Pic: Leanne Frisinger, Sbusiso Zondo and Zama Mthiyane)

Join NIVEA and Durban’s KZNSA Gallery for an exhibition of the artworks submitted by 23 finalists in the START THE NIVEA ART AWARD 2009. The winners will be announced on the evening of July 21.

“Historically and still now arts and culture have not received the kind of support that is necessary to build a thriving sector,” said Brenton Maart, director of the KZNSA Gallery and one of three judges in the competition. “In KZN especially we lose many of our artists to other provinces because they do not receive enough backing from the people in their own cities. When START THE NIVEA ART AWARD was created in 2005, NIVEA and the KZNSA Gallery decided to restrict the competition to artists in KZN. This was because those in Cape Town and Johannesburg have many opportunities and galleries receive a great deal of support. KZN needs patrons like NIVEA to help develop our emerging artists as well as encouragement from residents.”

Mitja Zupanic, managing director of Beiersdorf, adds: “In line with NIVEA’s philosophy to help bring out the best in individuals, START THE NIVEA ART AWARD was an investment in identifying artists with great potential and helping them carve a career that would both enhance KZN’s and South Africa’s art heritage.”

This year’s pieces - works specifically commissioned by NIVEA after the finalists were chosen in March and completed over three months under the mentorship of some of the province’s most experienced and respected artists - explored the theme Beauty is ... The final works on exhibition had to be no smaller than 1m on any one side and no bigger than 1,5m on any one side and use any visual art medium except video installation.

Maart said that because the artists were newcomers and had not won any major art awards to date, their interpretations of this theme were often extremely uninhibited. In addition, due to the fact that finalists represent a cross section of art South Africa with diverse backgrounds and life experiences, pieces on show were likely to reflect exciting and challenging views on this society’s perception of beauty.

“Via the exhibition, finalists have a platform to showcase their talents in a professional gallery and enjoy the kind of exposure they would never have had before. By being mentored by professional artists for the duration of the last leg of the competition, they could also spend time planning and creating in the studio while receiving advice, guidance and support,” he said.

START THE NIVEA ART AWARD focuses on those who are serious about a career in the arts. The aim is to bring together both self-taught and degreed entrants. This mix not only allows these artists to interact but also ensures a quality exhibition that reflects KZN’s many cultures.

The finalists’ creations will be hung in the gallery just before the competition ends. “With the appropriate lighting, the third phase of the judging gets underway and we select the top three,” Maart explained.

On the evening of July 21, the winner will receive R20,000 cash, a sponsored art studio and art materials for six months and a solo exhibition at KZNSA Gallery. The second and third prize winners will take home R10,000 and R5,000 cash respectively.

The 2009 Finalists are: Michelle Silk (Kloof), Ann Buss (Westville), Veronica Huber (Glenwood), Lara Mellon (Durban North), Robert Infanti (Kloof), Sbusiso Zondo (Kwa-Mashu), Zama Mthiyane (Umlazi), Amy-Jo Windt (Westville), Mariek Petzer (Westville), Ashley Jewnarain (Reservoir Hills), Angie Arbuthnot (Everton), Albina Mitchell (Gillitts), Janet Solomon (Durban), Ross Passmoor (Pietermaritzburg), Cynthia Msibi (Newcastle), Bheki Gumbi (Nongoma, Zululand), Leanne Frisinger (Kloof), Kim Bagley (Glenmore), Tony Buckland (Hillcrest), Robyn Cook (Berea), Diana Maroun (Durban North), Deborah van Niekerk (Durban North), Jane Oliver (Cowies Hill).

The 2009 Mentors are Pascale Chandler; Themba Shibase; Andrew Verster; Vuli Nyoni; Judy Jordan; Willis Nxumalo; Greg Streak and Grace Kotze. The 2009 Judges are internationally and locally acclaimed artist Zwelethu Mthethwa, KZNSA gallery director Brenton Maart and former director of the African Art Centre Anthea Martin.

The START THE NIVEA ART AWARD exhibition will run from July 22 to August 8 at the KZNSA Gallery at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1703, fax 031 201 8051 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit