A highlight on the South African arts scene, and forms an integral part of MTN's support and development of arts and culture.
Opening: August 7 at 6pm for 6.30pm, featuring MC Michelle Constant and a
performance by Tumi and the Volume. BY INVITATION ONLY.
Duration of exhibition: August 8 - September 21 (6 weeks)
Contact: Eloise Knoetze 083 222 1609 (MTN Foundation)
The second MTN New Contemporaries Award for young South African artists
The MTN New Contemporaries Award event is a highlight on the South African arts scene, and forms an integral part of MTN's support and development of arts and culture. The aim of the event is to promote young, emerging artists who have not yet received widespread recognition but have potential to excel in their field. Although an emphasis is placed on aesthetics, artistic merit and excellence, due consideration of the artists selected encompasses gender, race, geographical location and conceptual thinking.
The award and exhibition is a biennial, curator-driven event launched in July 2001, showcasing cutting edge installation, video and new media works. The appointed curator for 2003 is Kathryn Smith, artist, critic and co-director of The Trinity Session. Smith has moved the exhibition out of the suburbs and into the Newtown Cultural Precinct, and has nominated five young artists hailing from South Africa's three major cities: Matthew Hindley (CT), Alison Kearney (JHB), Thando Mama (DBN), Hannes Olivier (JHB) and Nontsikelelo Veleko (JHB).
The selected artists demonstrate a real engagement with social and theoretical issues pertinent to contemporary South Africa, and Africa at large. Critical to the award is the process and development of these artists' ideas and works. The public will have the opportunity to become familiar with each of the artists and what he or she is about through the catalogue, walkabouts and workshops.
We are also pleased to announce a new partnership between the MTN Foundation, who administrates the award, and the MTN Free2Speak campaign, which hinges its appeal to the urban youth market on the importance of freedom of expression. The partnership guarantees greater public awareness of young, contemporary visual art practice.
About the works:
It is not simply the individual output and associated reputations of Matthew Hindley, Alison Kearney, Thando Mama, Hannes Olivier and Nontsikelelo Veleko that informed their inclusion in this event, but also the importance of creating a critically engaging and memorable exhibition. Nominees this year have been commissioned to produce a new work for the exhibition that will be shown alongside an existing piece, setting up a dialogue between works that allows the viewer to develop a real understanding of these artists' concerns and critical interests.
Matthew Hindley works with technology in installation-type spaces, where the presence of the viewer becomes an integral part of the work's 'activation'. As such, his work is broadly collaborative, at least in resolution. His new work, Speak naturally and continuously, but pronounce each word clearly, speak at your normal pace - don't slow down, speak at your normal volume - don't whisper or speak too loudly, thank you, reflects on the inherent limitations of technology and the issue of language and access in relation to conceptual practice.
Alison Kearney continues this interest in the contexts and languages of access and display, working across museum space and public space. Kearney's public monuments, including her new Taxonomy of the Portable Hawkers' Museum critically engage with the boundaries between objects, the spaces they occupy and their audience or 'users'.
Thando Mama pulls no punches with (un)hea(r)d and We are afraid, compelling video work that tackles identity politics and subjecthood head-on. Proclaiming that "identity is an invention based on myths and half-truths", Mama focuses on (black) masculine identity in contemporary South Africa, informed by Pan Africanist philosophy and interrogating the binary relationship of nature vs. culture.
Hannes Olivier is the formalist of the group, insofar as his working method is predicated on a labour-intensive process that gives rise to meditative, abstract and minimalist sculptural installations (the AltarAlter diptych) and video experiments (the ink series). Olivier is driven by an interest in the relationship between the synthetic and organic, where formal structures and boundaries become metaphors for ideological, geographical, temporal or even spiritual systems and experiences.
Finally, Nontsikelelo Veleko tackles the issue of identity through photography, particular portraiture, which in www.notblackenough.lolo manifests as both 'fashion' images as well as graffiti. Veleko is engaged in an investigation of what she terms cultural 'intermarriages', which are represented by her edgy and confrontational images presented in an intimate installation environment.
In addition to receiving a commissioning fee to produce new work for this event, each nominee receives a mobile phone and the winner walks away with R25 000.
This year's panel of judges comprises Nessa Leibhammer (Portfolio Manager: Arts and Culture, MTN Foundation); Marialda Marais (Technikon Witwatersrand Department of Fine Arts); Themba Ka Mathe (arts journalist); Professor Colin Richards (Wits School of Arts); Bernice Samuels (General Manager: Marketing Communication, MTN); and Usha Seejarim (artist, educator and joint winner of the MTN New Contemporaries 2001)
The exhibition is accompanied by a full colour, 28pp catalogue, featuring an introduction by Yvonne Muthien (MTN Group Head: Corporate Affairs); a curator's statement and interviews with nominees by Kathryn Smith, as well as artists' statements and biographical details.
PLEASE CONTACT KATHRYN SMITH ON 339 2679 FOR AN INVITATION OR REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.
Smith (27) is a practising artist, has curated a number of critically-acclaimed exhibitions, writes for several local and international contemporary art publications, and is a founding member and co-director of artists' collective The Trinity Session. She was recently awarded the Wits Alumni Bright Star Award for outstanding contribution to the arts and humanities. She serves as the secretary of the Gauteng branch of the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (Vansa) and the first National steering committee for the Arts and Culture Marketing Association of South Africa (ACMASA).
The MTN Foundation
The MTN Foundation is an umbrella organisation mandated to manage MTN's social investment programme. Through the MTN Foundation, MTN invests resources for social redress, thus empowering people by skills transfer, preserving and nurturing their heritage, culture and arts, as well as generating new knowledge through recording their histories. The MTN Foundation's programmes are focused on four selected areas, School Connectivity (education); MTN Arts Institute (arts and culture); MTN ScienCentre (science and technology) and HIV/AIDS.
To improve the quality of life, through caring partnerships, in communities where MTN operates.
Strategic Objectives of the MTN Foundation
Designed to address national needs, the objectives of the MTN Foundation are: a.. To improve access to educational opportunities through Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
b.. To promote South Africa and Africa's rich cultural and artistic heritage
c.. To contribute to the challenge of HIV/AIDS as a national priority by strategic partnerships and facilitating a common response
d.. To promote public understanding of science and technology
e.. To support job creation efforts through ICT in rural areas
Image: MuseuMAfricA: telling stories that had not been told before (Photo: Anton Hammerl, MuseuMAfricA)
MuseuMAfricA, 121 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. Guarded parking on Mary Fitzgerald Square, opposite the Museum.