12th Tollman Award for Visual Arts awarded to Simphiwe Ndzube


Ndzube was born in 1990 in Gauteng and grew up in Hofmeyre and Cape Town. He graduated with a BA Fine Art in 2015 at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town where he won that year’s Michaelis Prize. He is also a recipient of the 2015 Simon Gerson Prize, the 2013 Cecil Skotnes Award and a top ten finalist for 2015 Barclays L’Atelier competition. His most recent group exhibitions include Dear Europa… at Whatiftheworld (2016); The Art of Disruption at the Iziko South African National Gallery (2016); #theopening at Greatmore Studios (2016) as well as shows at Smac Art Gallery and Commune 1. Ndzube is currently in residency at Greatmore Studios in Cape Town, working towards his first solo exhibition in October 2016.

Ndzube’s latest body of work uses different media to grapple with issues around hope and hopelessness. By stitching found clothes and other material on to canvas, Ndzube references fashion in its most elemental sense. Inspired by dandyism, his figures ‘fashion’ a sense of self and craft personhood. In his own words, his process seeks to ‘stitch together an account of the subjective black experience in post-apartheid South Africa’.

The annual Tollman Award for the Visual Arts was founded in 2003. A grant of R100 000 is given to a young artist who has received critical recognition but is hampered by limited resources to realise the potential of his or her work. Recipients may spend the award as they wish to create new work, travel, study or produce a publication.

Since its inception the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts has significantly helped develop the careers of its recipients. Wim Botha, Churchill Madikida, Mustafa Maluka, Zanele Muholi, Nicholas Hlobo, Paul Edmunds, Sabelo Mlangeni, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Ian Grose, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Portia Zvavahera and Mawande Ka Zenzile are previous recipients.

Botha, Madikida, Hlobo and Wa Lehulere have gone on to receive the Standard Bank Young Artist Award. Muholi has exhibited extensively abroad, most recently at the ninth Berlin Biennale, the Prince Claus Fund Gallery in Amsterdam and LUMA in Arles. Hlobo is the first recipient of the Villa Extraordinary Award for Sculpture and has had solo projects at the Tate Modern in London and the Boston ICA. Botha recently presented a new installation at the Fondation Blachère in Apt, France. Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank’s ‘Artist of the Year’ for 2017.

After consultation with artists and curators, Michael Stevenson offers a shortlist to the Tollman family who select an artist whose work resonates with them.

The award is an acknowledgement of the family’s commitment to the extraordinary creativity of art from South Africa and further afield. Toni Tollman, on behalf of the family, said that offering the awards has been a defining moment for the family who have, for the past 40 years, been major collectors of South African art and filled their homes and hotels with works by South African artists.