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Sunday, August 9, 2009


(Pic: Winner Jane Oliver with Michele Silk (3rd Place) and Cynthia Msibi (2nd Place).)

START The Nivea Art Award 2009 winners were announced on July 21 and the exhibition runs at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Road until August 8. Winner Jane Oliver received 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 – Cynthia Msibi and Michele Silk - took home R10,000 and R5,000 cash respectively.

“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.”

Managing director of Beiersdorf, Mitja Zupanic, added: “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 2009 finalists included 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 (Gillits), 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 Mentor were Pascale Chandler, Themba Shibase, Andrew Verster, Vuli Nyoni, Judy Jordan, Willis Nxumalo, Greg Streak and Grace Kotze. The 2009 Judges were Zwelethu Mthethwa, Brenton Maart and Anthea Martin.