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Friday, February 3, 2012


A sound overall body of work was what secured a victory for Durban University of Technology Fine Art student Nicolé Maurel in the 2012 Emma Smith Scholarship Award.

Maurel’s OrangeBlangeBlou. Wie is ons dan nou earned her R40,000 at the 2012 Emma Smith Scholarship Award ceremony at the DUT City Campus. “Her overall body of work was very sound. Everyone who was there decided Nicolé has a lot going for her and we decided to support that. We want to see where her future work will lead her,” said Megan McFall, one of the judges.

Maurel said her work was a personal journey where she investigated her identity and heritage as an Afrikaaner. The work consisted of a series of 11 dolls with ceramic heads and embroidered dresses. The dolls, which served as metaphors, are amputated to symbolize what she said is the dysfunctional (Afrikaaner) family and community shifting from the oppressed to the oppressor. “I was investigating South Africa’s past such as the Great Trek, the British Concentration Camps and the Boer War. As an Afrikaaner, I wanted to know who I am and where I come from. It’s interesting how history repeats itself. Afrikaners were oppressed (British Concentration Camps) only to become the oppressor during apartheid. Apartheid is no more and Afrikaaners sit with an identity crisis,” said Maurel.

She said she would use her prize money to fund an exhibition with a group of women from Aberdeen in the Karoo. “I went to Aberdeen in 2010 to do a ceramics workshop with group of Coloured women. The area has 98 percent unemployment. The women are creative and that’s why I want to have an exhibition workshop with them. I want to bring them here so they can see the city, art galleries and just experience this environment,” she said.

Maurel also received an additional R500 after Arts and Design Faculty Dean Dr Kenneth Fhatuwani Netshiombo announced all finalists would receive R200 pocket money while the award winner would get R500 courtesy of his Faculty. This, Dr Netshiombo said, was because of the high quality of work.

DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Ahmed C Bawa said there is a huge convergence between art and design, adding that he hoped the nominees would do great things in the future. He also urged the students to get their Masters degrees, saying the country needs to produce 6,000 PhDs a year, but is currently managing 1,200.