Michaelis School of Fine Art hosted the Tierney Fellowship workshops on 7 and 8 February 2019. The Tierney Fellowship was created in 2003 by the Tierney Family Foundation to encourage promising artists in the arena of photography. The principal objective of the Fellowship is to find the future leaders in photography and to support them in conquering the challenges that an artist faces at the beginning of his or her career. The aim of the fellowship is twofold: encouraging fellows to produce a new body of work and creating a global community of artists that functions as a crucial support network in an increasingly competitive field. The Fellowship supports the recipients both financially, by way of a grant, and technically and conceptually, with mentorship and guidance from experts in the field. Fellows remain an important part of the programme after the conclusion of their structured mentorship. Seminars and critiques are held throughout the year to facilitate interaction between all current and past recipients, encouraging discussion about their photography, work experience and lives as artists.
This year we were joined by Garth Meyer (UCT fellow), Thandile Zwelibanzi (Wits fellow) Tshepiso Mabula (Photo Workshop fellow) and mentors Bekie Ntini (Photo Workshop) Lekgetho Makola (Head of Market Photo Workshop,) Buyaphi Mdledle (Photo Workshop), Rory Bester (Wits) and Jo Ractliffe (Wits). The mentors from UCT are Svea Josephy and Jean Brundrit. Past fellows Lauren Theunissen, Sitaara Stodel, Monique Pelser and Thandiwe Msebenzi joined the current fellows for a discussion session.
The guests were the highlight. We were joined by internationally renowned artists Sethimbile Msezane, Penny Siopis and Pieter Hugo who made deep insights into the photographers projects. Especially fascinating was a session with former Deputy Minister of Defence, Intelligence Services and Water Affairs and Forestry, Ronnie Kasrils. The former minister brought in depth knowledge to Tshepiso’s project on former Umkhonto we Sizwe and APLA soldiers.
Part of what makes the Tierney fellowship so unique is the giving of time and input by people from the outside of the university and photography, but who carry deep knowledges about the subjects the fellows are engaged with.
We thank all involved for giving so generously of their time and energy to the crits, particularly Associate Professor Brundrit who arranged the successful crit sessions.