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Friday, November 6, 2009


Two KZN artists among 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners.

The newly announced Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners for 2010 embody a group of artists who are multi-talented, collaborative and eclectic. These artists personify the era of creative cross-pollination that is fast becoming the new standard of artistic expression in the emerging arts-leadership generation.

These awards, recognised as one of the most prestigious of their kind in the country, honour young South African artists who are on the brink of national acclaim. Besides providing them with financial support and a platform for experimentation, it gives recognition to their exceptional talent.

“Over the past 26 years, the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards have been heralded by the artistic community as the most sought after accolade to catapult the careers of young artists into the national and international arena,” said National Arts Festival Director, Ismail Mahomed.

KZN artists Mlu Zondi (Dance) and Claire Angelique (Film) are honoured alongside Michael MacGarry (Visual Art), Samson Diamond (Music), Janni Younge (Theatre)and Melanie Scholtz for Jazz.

This group of multifaceted young creative artists will be the ambassadors for South Africa’s emerging arts-talent in an intensely significant year for the nation. “As the world gathers in South Africa next year, these six artists will stand out as a testament to the enormous talent and cultural innovation that positions the South African arts sector as a significant player in the international arena,” said Mandie van der Spuy, head of art sponsorships at Standard Bank.

“Over the past 26 years the Young Artist Awards have played a significant role in developing and promoting South Africa’s artistic talent,” Mandie van der Spuy continues. ”We are proud to be able to continue contributing to the advancement of the artist’s careers as well as our country’s cultural heritage. The 2010 winners all demonstrate a passion for and dedication to their craft which will no doubt ensure that they reach the pinnacle of success in their artistic professions.”

“For a dancer who works in a conceptual art domain it was humbling to receive the award, because it made me realise I am on the right track,” said Mlu Zondi (Dance). “It assured me that my work is being noticed. Standard Bank has taken a huge lead in terms of supporting young artists. This award puts you at the forefront of the South African art scene. You also get a huge platform being part of the National Arts Festival. What more can you ask for!”

Claire Angelique (Film) said: “The award is headed in the right direction by embracing the mind and soul that destroys, rethinks, then reassembles to embrace the new or unexplored. By embracing young artists we are embracing the future and rewarding a new generation’s point of view.”

“This unique award represents a substantial vote of confidence and a show of institutional support in my career. As a young artist one cannot ask for better,” said graphic designer/ writer/visual artist/curator, Michael MacGarry (Visual Art). “The Standard Bank Young Artist award is unique for a number of reasons. It is multi-disciplinary, recognising cultural and creative production across a number of platforms and media. It is also an unsolicited award rather than an open entry competition. All of these aspects differentiate the award from any other in the country.”

International violin maestro Samson Diamond (Music) comments: “The vision and initiative of corporate companies like Standard Bank who sponsor awards, recognise the talents and aspirations of young artists who would normally struggle without the financial support and platform. Awards to young artists are imperative in the struggle of practicing your art. Awards help the artist not to alter their aspirations because of a lack of financial support or recognition.”

South Africa’s own “Geppetto”, Janni Young (Theatre) says: “The awards are a space to create, and are also a reflection on what is important to the artistic community of South Africa. It gives young artists a place and a voice in the ever-evolving cultural identity of South Africa.”

“I am so honoured and humbled to have been selected to be part of a long line of musicians that have influenced me as a musician and a human being,” said jazz-diva Melanie Scholtz (Jazz). “It is such an incredible opportunity to strive and reach for greatness. I think that, especially in the difficult financial times we find ourselves in, Standard Bank has definitely taken the initiative and have been very brave and visionary in supporting the arts as a country's treasure, and voice. I am proud to be associated with such a supportive brand.”.

“The loyal support of Standard Bank over the past 26 years demonstrates the invaluable partnership between the arts and the corporate sector which is crucial if we are to grow and preserve a strong cultural legacy,” said Ismail Mahomed. “I believe that this dynamic group of Standard Bank Young Artists will be able to stand tall amongst all the previous winners of this prestigious award. They have become strong ambassadors for South African art. This ‘gallery’ of South African artists is perhaps the best cultural legacy that we can bestow on future generations of South Africans who will judge our civilization by the cultural legacy that we have promoted and preserved for them.”

As part of their prize, each of the winners will be featured on the Main Programme of the 2010 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (June 20 - July 4, 2010). This platform gives them the license to present an innovative piece of work that will première at the Festival.

(Watch this space for individual profiles on the winners)