Established by Art.b Gallery in 1963, Vuleka, meaning “open” in isiXhosa, is the oldest continuous art competition in Southern Africa. The competition is open to all artists 18 years or older who have not held a solo exhibition in the last three years. This important event is without a doubt the barometer for the future of art in our region and also forms a valuable platform where plenty of new talents can launch their art careers.

Leah Hawker and 1st prize winner Ley Mboramwe, photo by Chanelle Louw.

Entries are representative of a broad spectrum of cultures and mediums from the traditional to the innovative and conceptual. With art sponsorships, funding, and competitions dwindling due to adverse economic conditions it is gratifying to see the Vuleka competition growing from strength to strength and featuring as one of South Africa’s prominent annual art competitions.

Artists are encouraged to submit works of a high level of originality, strong individual expression, and technical ability par excellence.

Entries in most mediums are acceptable be it painting, sculpture, ceramics, drawing, photography, collage, assemblage, digital etc. Due to the logistics performance art is not currently accepted.

This will be the third year where adjudication is done in such a way that not even the three judges are aware of each other’s choices till the very end, assuring a fair and impartial process.

According to the historical records of Art.b, the competition has drawn entries from now prominent artists over the 60 years including William Kentridge, Sue Williamson, Christo Coetzee, Pippa Skotnes, and many more. “Last year’s competition drew over 300 entries with a selection of 50 artworks making it to the final round. It was however Congolese artist Ley Mboramwe who walked away with the R 50 000 Conrad Theys first prize for the awe-inspiring acrylic on canvas: Mister Parole 2.

Mboramwe expresses himself with bold and vibrant colours working mostly on larger-than-life paintings often depicting visual scenes from his childhood growing up in Kinshasha. Mboramwe’s oeuvre is not only limited to painting but also performance art, calligraphy, and stone carving.

“I am a visual artist performer exploring in my painting and calligraphy, the exploration of self-expression and using the eye of imagination. My painting style is considered realistic and I enjoy working with figures. My interest in calligraphy is best translated by carving letters in stone, although sometimes this love appears on canvas as well”.

Call for entries will be open on the Art.b website from 12 June until midnight 6 July 2023. All rules for entry are on the website. First submission will be online and 80 semi-finalists will be requested to send their work to the gallery for final adjudication.

Visit the Art.b Gallery or visit the website at to view and buy artworks online. For more information, please contact the gallery manager at  or 021 444 6500.


Ley Mboramwe, Vuleka 2023 1st prize, Mr Parole 2.


Antionette McMaster, Vuleka 2023 runner up, The invisible and the malignant


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