In 2020 much changed about the way we taught, thought and lived due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 4th Year students who were looking forward to a year of making art in studios with peers, suddenly found themselves back at home in Cape Town or other parts of the country, trying to make art under lonely, difficult circumstances. Without the support of technical staff, equipment, machinery, space, workshops, access to their materials, incomplete artwork and tools, 4th year students had to rethink their projects in new ways. The results were rich, experimental and fascinating.
We saw a return to the modest, humble gesture; to the small, intimate, bodily, to the maquette, the book, the finely made and the portable. New themes and practices occurred which were concerned with the pandemic and the global crisis. Circumstances meant that prominent themes emerged from the home, family, faith, isolation, craft, the domestic and the internet, but also the family album, identity, ancestry and archive. Equally rich were a concern with space and the environment, the notion of isolation and of care of the self, the earth and of others. The catalogue for the 4th year class of 2020 can be found on this link: https://michaelisgraduates.co.za/Catalogue
We would like to congratulate all our 4th years for the rich and varied work they produced under very difficult circumstances, and to congratulate them on their resilience, fortitude and determination. We would also like to thank both the technical and the academic staff for going the extra mile to assist and support the class of 2020, and the administrative staff for managing challenges in the background. Thank you also to the graduating class of 2019 who supported the 2020 students through their generous contributions to the Materials Bursary funds.
The winner of the Michaelis Prize awarded annually to the most outstanding body of work produced by a student during the year, goes to Ranji Mangcu for an exceptional installation and book, IQHINA (The Knot). This installation wove and tangled together threads of religion, education in relation to her family’s histories against the backdrop of Ginsburg in the Eastern Cape. Looking into her paternal and maternal line it explored the ordinary lives of a family brushing up against “great” histories and master narratives.
Distinctions were awarded to Gemma Carosin, Ben Orkin, Miro Van der Vloed, Sahlah Davids, Parker Donaldson and Ranji Mangcu who all share the Simon Gerson Prize for each a producing an exceptional body of work.
The following students are also recipients of prizes:
Wanda Klaas - The Michaelis School of Fine Art Director's Prize;
Emme Pretorius - The Katrine Harries Print Cabinet Award for an undergraduate student;
Tania Milner - The Judy Steinberg prize in recognition of excellent work in painting;
Thato Makatu - The Matthew Sommers Memorial Prize for a student who shows promise in drawing, design or printmaking;
Sophie Cope - The Cecil Skotnes Prize for a promising student;
Dan Tucker - The Jan Royce prize for sculpture.
Distinctions were also awarded to the Post Graduate Diploma students Robert Plotz, Diana Vives, Larissa Hollis and Aldo Brincat.
Congratulations to our prize winners and to all our students for doing exceptionally well under difficult circumstances.