Michaelis alumni Kirsten Eksteen wins a Merit Award at the Absa L'Atelier Art Awards
17 Sep 2018 - 11:30
Patterns and Pattern Body
The Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist is sponsored by the French Embassy, Alliance Franciase and French Institute. It is only available to a South African artist who has previously entered the L’Atelier Awards and who has demonstrated continual improvement in their art-making.
The three Merit Awards winners this year were Gillian Abe of Uganda (Seat of Honour), Henry Obeng of Ghana (Recycle Frame 2) and Kirsten Eksteen of South Africa (Patterns and Pattern Body) respectively.
These three artists, along with overall winner Marguerite Kirsten, Carli Bassin (SA) (Shaped), Lemmeze Davids (SA) (Thank you for my lunch), Christiaan Kritzinger (SA) (Meltdown: new aesthetics in old landscapes), Ayo Akinwande (Nigeria) (Shrine), Lodewyk Barkhuizen (SA) (Hat disguised as map), and Sikelele Damane (SA) (Toyi, Toyi, Act 1) were selected as the Top 10 finalists for 2018.
The Absa L’Atelier awards has become a touchstone for the concerns consuming young people on the continent. Works referencing hair styles as a form of expression, identity and a site of contestation were prominent in previous years and remained important to a number of this year’s entrants, such as Nonkululeko Sibande, Lebohang Motaung (both from South Africa) and Darlyne Komukama (Uganda).
Some artworks offered insights into the particular conditions and contexts from the artist’s countries of origin – constant power outages in Lagos, Nigeria, accounted for the unexpected metaphor between electricity generators and religious shrines by Ayo Akinwande, for example. Pressing political issues regarding land ownership in South Africa surfaced in works by Vianca Malan, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Karla Nixon and Ciara Struwig, while forced removals and land ownership were mirrored in Bya’bazzukulu (For Grandchildren) by Donald Wasswa.