On 17 November the winners of the 2016 Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition were announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at Oliewenhuis Art Museum.
A large crowd of esteemed guests attended to witness the historic announcement of the five winners chosen by the judging panel among the 35 top Free State artists’ works initially selected to be in line for the winning prize.
The Public Choice Award attracted a lot of attention and votes and for quite some time five artists were neck and neck until close to the end. However, at the end Carmen van Staden pulled ahead to win the public’s vote as their favourite artist and claim R10,000 in prize money. Carmen had two works qualify for exhibition namely ‘The Flier’ and ‘Erupted thoughts.’
The recipients of the two merit awards valued at R10 000 each were awarded to Mothobi Mefane for ‘Metsi,’ and Sandy Little for ‘We are responsible for the image, for Ophelia, Reeva, Jade and Ayanda.’ The merit awards serve as an investment in the personal and professional development of artists in whom the judges see great potential and are overwhelmingly excited. The merit awards is therefore an acknowledgement of two artists who show exceptional technical skill and whose work deal with some of the most pressing issues in our South African context.
The Runner-Up Award of R20,000 went to Helena de Waal for her magnificent ceramic creation entitled ‘Name changing object,’ through which she interrogates the patriarchal societal system which regulates the assigned roles of men and woman. Using the everyday object of a wedding dress, she questions the notion that a woman has to take her husband’s surname upon marriage, thereby becoming his possession and an object to be used as he pleases.
And finally the first winner of the Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition 2016 receiving R50,000 in prize money was announced as Toni Pretorius for her work ‘Amassing for our Carrion King.’ She created an exquisite piece of art from porcelain, wood, glass, vinyl, ink, brass to address contemporary views on mortality, the brevity of life and human behaviour, showing technique and craftsmanship of the highest quality, supported by a sound conceptual foundation.
Sam Moleko, director at Phatshoane Henney Attorneys, congratulated the winners saying that Phatshoane Henney Attorneys sincerely hopes that the laurels they received will affirm their talent and assist them on your road to success. “We will most certainly be following their careers with interest!”
He also extended a word of thanks to each artist who was courageous enough to participate. “We trust that you will have gained from and enjoyed the opportunity to participate in and be showcased by the competition. We hope also that you have been inspired and challenged to be brave and bold. You are the future of art and we hope to see you back!”
Image: Sandy Little, Mothobi Mefane, Toni Pretorius, Helena de Waal and Carmen van Staden.
Detail from Toni Pretorius’s winning work, below. Photo Credit: Eye Poetry Photography