On 8 November Nkululeko Nkebe was announced as the overall winner of the 2018 Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition at a prestigious awards ceremony held at Oliewenhuis Art Museum.
Nkebe, an art student at the Central University of Technology (CUT), was honoured for his visually striking work, “Youth ‘slaves’ to education”, that comments on the struggles of youth and education and the fine line that exists between finding work or slipping into a life of crime and poverty, driven by economic necessity. The panel of four judges agreed that with the exceptional use of pen on paper, and through outstanding composition and execution, the artist has visually and movingly invoked the viewer to consider the frail economic position of today’s youth in relation to the demand for education.
He was awarded R50,000 in prize money.
The Runner-Up Award and R20,000 in prize money went to Katlego Mogoera, also a student studying art at the CUT, for her striking photographic image entitled “Girl balancing cigarette on lips”. In what is a first for the competition, the judges’ views as well as those of the public have converged, with Mogoera receiving nearly 400 votes to claim the Public Choice Award as well, and receiving an additional R10,000 in prize money.
The two R10,000 Merit Awards, with which the judges had a bit more leeway to identify, support and incentivise artists that they felt showed promise, talent and the ability to take their art to the next level, went to Petra Schutte, former art student from the University of the Free State, and Xola Sello, another art student from the CUT, respectively. In her work “Expiration of my environment” she visually - through the use of pigment ink, pastel and pencil - portrayed her message about the impact of the ever-increasing accumulation of waste on our environment. In turn Sello was awarded the other Merit Award for his work “My economy” in which he innovatively used pen and pastel on paper to comment on the state of the South African economy in a collection of four drawings.
Above outlined five winners were chosen by die official competition judges out of a total of 45 top Free State artists whose 54 works formed part of this year’s official Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition exhibition. The judging panel consisted of Dr Same Mdluli, Manager of the Standard Bank Art Gallery in Johannesburg, Lawrence Lemaoana, renowned Johannesburg artist, Karen Brusch, former Director of Gallery MOMO Johannesburg and founder of the Free State Art Collective, as well as Pauline Gutter, renowned Free State-based South African painter and 2013 winner of the ABSA L`Atelier competition.
For more information, visit www.newbreedart.co.za.