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Wednesday, December 29, 2010


(Pic courtesy Brodie Stevenson: Nandipha Mntambo, Pracade TourousI)

Standard Bank Young Artist Winner For Visual Art 2011

For 28-year old Nandipha Mntambo, cowhide is the primary canvas used to express her passion to challenge societal and cultural norms. The 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Visual Art graduated with a Masters of Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2007, and is currently studying in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Winning the Standard Bank Young Artist Award is wonderful. At this stage of my career it is a great affirmation of my achievements within my art practice,” said Mntambo. “My hope is that the scope of my art creation would be increased.”

Well-known for her experimentation with natural elements - cowhide in particular - as canvas for her artistic expression, Mntambo is as concerned over the creative process as with the end-result of her work. Her creativity has crossed many national, cultural, emotional and artistic boundaries.

“My intention is to explore the physical and tactile properties of hide and aspects of control that allow or prevent me from manipulating this material in the context of the female body and contemporary art,” Mntambo explains in a catalogue statement for her solo exhibition Ingabisa at Michael Stevenson in 2007. “I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability.”

Brenton Maart, National Arts Festival committee member for Visual Art comments: "Nandipha Mntambo is one of South Africa's most remarkable young sculptors,” said “Her mastery of an incredibly difficult medium, animal skin and hair, allows her to shape morphing structures that are part human and part animal, part alive and part dead, part grotesquely revolting and part sensually enticing. It is this ambivalence, that sense of unease, that elevates Mntambo's work above the level of the commonplace into the ranks of the astonishing."

Her thought–provoking solo exhibitions include Umphatsi Wemphi at Brodie/Stevenson in Johannesburg (2009), The Encounter at Michael Stevenson in Cape Town (2009), Ingabisa at Michael Stevenson, Cape Town (2007) and Locating me in order to see you, her Master's exhibition, at Michaelis Gallery in Cape Town (2007).

Her work has also been exhibited as part of numerous group exhibitions around the world. In 2010, her work formed part of nine different exhibitions in Berlin, Australia, Senegal, Wales, Denmark, Germany, Paris, Rome and Newtown, Johannesburg. In 2009, she also exhibited in the USA, UK, Mali and Norway, and again in Germany. In 2008, her work travelled to Italy and again to the UK, in 2007 to Spain and in 2006 to the Canary Islands, in addition to the group exhibitions that she continued to participate in on home soil.

Mntambo was awarded the Wits/BHP Billiton Fellowship to do a three-month residency at the Wits School of the Arts in 2010. In 2006 she was a finalist in the MTN New Contemporaries Award and in 2005 she received the Brett Kebble Curatorial Fellowship. She was also a recipient of the Mellon Meyers Fellowship in 2003 and 2004 to study at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.

“I’m inspired by my everyday environment, the past and the present,” said Mntambo. “I've also been experimenting with photography, video and performance. It’s great to be able to diversify.”