FNB Art Joburg is proud to announce the winner of this year’s FNB Art Prize: Lindokuhle Sobekwa. An artist working in the medium of documentary photography, Sobekwa’s practice uses the camera to historically contemplate the present. Soaked in materialism and subtly resolving geographical and temporal distances, in his hand the camera invites absent presences, that were there when his images were made, into the present.

Lindokuhle Sobekwa | Self Portrait, 2018

The 2023 FNB Art Prize jury is made up of Abigail Rands (marketing manager of Krone), Dr Joy Simmons (collector, philanthropist, radiologist), and Kim Kandan (fair manager, FNB Art Joburg representative). On their decision, the jury for the 2023 FNB Art Prize said, “Creating compelling documentary photography, Lindokule Sobekwa’s work represents an explicitly South African narrative. He brings into focus a poignant reality in which both strife and soft moments exist – exposing, questioning and reflecting on current times and experiences.”
By winning the FNB Art Prize, Sobekwa becomes the first documentarian to join previous winners Dada Khanyisa, Wycliffe Mundopa, Lady Skollie, Bronwyn Katz, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Peju Alatise, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Turiya Magadlela, Portia Zvavahera, Nelisiwe Xaba, Mocke J van Veuren, and Kudzanai Chiurai.
Faye Mfikwe, FNB Chief Marketing Officer, said, “We congratulate Lindokuhle on winning the coveted FNB Art Prize. The FNB Art Prize was created to recognise talent and innovation in the arts. As a result, we are delighted to see artists pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking through creative expression. As a brand and trusted partner, we remain committed to supporting and growing the creative economy on the African continent.”
Born in Katlehong, Johannesburg, Sobekwa is from a generation of South African photographers born after the first democratic elections of 1994. Through his participation in the Of Soul and Joy photography education programme in Thokoza during 2012, he realised that the medium of photography would be essential in telling stories that interest and concern him.
As Africa’s leading and longest running contemporary art fair, FNB Art Joburg’s mandate is to sustainably support and grow the continent’s cultural offering in ways that go beyond the fair. One of the ways this is achieved is through the annual FNB Art Prize.
“When you look back at the calibre of artists who have won this prize, they are awe inspiring to the public and their peers. They find new ways to use existing materials to interrogate important issues,” says FNB Art Joburg’s Managing Director, Mandla Sibeko. “Lindokuhle is no different because the way he works with the camera has managed to continue the reflective, conscious and delicate legacies left behind by the likes of Ernest Cole.”
Connecting the dots of kinship and allegiance within the photographic terrain Sobekwa recalls the first time he encountered Ernest Cole’s work at the age of 17. “House of Bondage became a great reference in terms of what I was pursuing in my language as a photographer,” said Sobekwa.
In 2014, his photo essay Nyaope was published in several prolific platforms including the Mail & Guardian, Vice magazine’s annual Photo Issue and in the Belgian publication, De Standaard. Thereafter he received a scholarship to study at the Market Photo Workshop where he refined his approach to the camera in both concept and technique. Since then, Sobekwa’s success has included being selected by the Magnum Foundation for Photography and Social Justice in New York to develop his project, I carry Her photo of Me. Two years later, the hand-made photo book was included in the African Cosmologies exhibition at the FotoFest Biennial Houston.
In 2022 the artist made his museum show debut at Huis Marseille in the Netherlands before becoming a member of Magnum Photos and receiving the inaugural John Kobal Foundation Fellowship.
As the winner of the 2023 prize, Sobekwa will receive a cash prize as well as a solo exhibition at Johannesburg Art Gallery where the largest art collection, on the continent, resides.
Tickets to the fair on from the 8th to the 10th of September 2023  at The Sandton Convention Centre are now available at https://artjoburg.com/tickets/.

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