The National Arts Festival earlier this week named an unprecedented eight young South Africans winners of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, bringing to 125 the total number who have been honoured since Standard Bank began sponsoring the Awards three decades ago.
The Award is made annually to young South African artists who are either on the threshold of national acclaim, or whose artistic excellence has enabled them to make international breakthroughs. “Celebrating excellence, innovation and a refined technical skill and artistry rests at the heart of the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards.
Each of this year’s winners represent the vibrancy and sophistication with which South Africa’s artistic and cultural legacy continues to be enriched” said Festival Artistic Director, Ismail Mahomed.
The Awards include, for the first time since inception, a prize shared by siblings in a single category, with photographers Hasan and Husain Essop being named joint Visual Art winners.
The brothers have been collaborating since their graduation from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town, and will stage a new joint exhibition in Grahamstown next year. “It is also only the sixth time since the start of the awards that a prize has been given in the ‘Film’ category, and we are delighted that we can include that on our roster of winners together with our newest award category for ‘Performance Art’, which was instituted last year,” Mahomed said. “Quite often we have had to present a smaller, refined list of winners – this time we wanted a full slate, covering all the key genres celebrated by the National Arts Festival in anticipation of our double anniversary celebrations in 2014.”
Next year, apart from being the 30th year Standard Bank have sponsored the Award, the Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The winners of the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards are:
Jahmil XT Qubeka for Film
Nicola Elliott for Dance
Kyle Shepherd for Jazz
Hasan & Husain Essop for Visual Art
Njabulo Madlala for Music
Donna Kukama for Performance Art
Greg Homann for Theatre
“Standard Bank deeply values the contribution we can make through the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards to the continued growth of South Africa’s artistic legacy,” said Hazel Chimhandamba, Head of Group Sponsorships at Standard Bank.
Apart from a cash prize, each of the winners will be featured on the Main programme of the 2014 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (July 3 to 13, 2014), where they will be given the opportunity to develop and première new works.
Previous Winners of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award have included the likes of Richard E Grant, Janice Honeyman, Paul Slabolepszy, Andrew Buckland, Johnny Clegg and Deon Opperman, all of whom have become household names in South Africa.
* Visit www.nationalartsfestival.co.za for more information.