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Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Artists stand a chance to study in Paris, New York and the Island of Sylt

Emerging artists are encouraged to prepare their work for entry into the 2013 Absa L’Atelier art competition. Held annually in partnership with SANAVA (South African National Association for the Visual Arts), the Absa L’Atelier art competition is regarded as one of South Africa’s most prestigious and longest running art competitions. It has launched the careers of many South African artists who have become household names on a global level.

To help promote the 2013 competition, Absa undertook an experiment to see whether there was a substitute for real experience. Working with their advertising agency, The Jupiter Drawing Room (Johannesburg), they hypnotised young artists and told them they were in Paris, New York or on the Island of Sylt, places they had never visited before, and the destinations in which the winning artists will receive residences. While under hypnosis and believing they were in these cities, they created artworks showing what they saw.

The competition is open to young emerging artists between the ages of 21 and 35, giving them the opportunity to receive recognition for their work and develop their talents abroad. Entries to the competition can be submitted from March 2013, and artists are encouraged to begin work on their pieces in anticipation.

The winning artist wins a range of prizes, including cash, as well as a coveted opportunity to study at the Cité Internationale Des Arts in the heart of Paris, where they can develop their talent surrounded by leading artists from across the world. Two merit award winners will be chosen to win prizes of a residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New York and at the Sylt Foundation on the Island of Sylt in Germany respectively. There is a fourth prize, sponsored by the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise.

The winners of the 2012 competition were Elrie Joubert and Bambo Sibiya (Gerard Sekoto Award winner). Joubert’s entry was an installation based around a contemporary interpretation of the renaissance practice of keeping a cabinet of rarities; while Sibiya’s piece celebrated the power of women and how they challenge life as single parents. They will take up their prize residencies in 2013.

Emerging artists can find more information and download the entry form at