Congratulations to the winners of the Vuleka Conrad Theys 1st prize goes to Wisdom Chithembethembe and Nellien Brewer who for the first time ever shared joint first place.

Their works were titled as follows:

Wisdom Chithembethembe: Bhegi Reraramo, The Shamgani Bag, my Bag of Hope. Medium: Charcoal and soft Pastel on Fabriano
Nellien Brewer: Flotsam and Jetsam Fragment II, Hand Embossed over Digital Typing.
Third prize: Andrew Mogridge for his ceramic work titled Law and Order.

The three Highly Commended Winners were:

Zach Taljaard with his porcelain installation titled Straight Acting Series
Mishka Amien with her installation titled Ghost Notes
Victoria du Toit with her watercolour titled Perdeberg Protea II

Vuleka, meaning “open” in isiXhosa, is the oldest continuous art competition in South Africa, already established by the Arts Association of Bellville under a different name in 1963. The competition is open to all artists from Africa who have not yet held a solo exhibition. This important event is without a doubt the barometer for the future of art in our region.

This will be the third year where adjudication was done in such a way that not even the three judges were 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, Andries Gouws and many more. This year’s competition drew 280 entries of which a selection of 50 finalists are displayed at the gallery and e-commerce platform.

The competition is unique since all mediums, including conceptual pieces, come under the same scrutiny and are evaluated on an equal footing.

The competition is entirely self-funded with all entry fees being used towards the prize money.

This year the work is of an exceptionally high standard and the judges had a hard time eliminating work.


Luan Nel: Award-winning artist and curator as well as art critic. He also owns his own gallery called Nel. He is represented by the Everard Read Gallery.

Debbie Annas: Retired Principal of Jack Meyer Art Centre in Paarl and Ceramicist.

Dr Willie Bester: legendary Resistance Artist against the Apartheid system. He was honoured with a doctorate in Literature from the University of KZN for his contribution.

Nellien Brewer, Conrad Theys, Wisdom Chithembethembe

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