Pinetown artist wins

2009-08-04 00:00

PINETOWN artist Jane Oliver has walked off with first prize in the 2009 Start The Nivea Art Award, winning a R20 000 cash prize, a sponsored art studio and art materials for six months, as well as a solo exhibition at the KZNSA Gallery in 2010.

The second prize of R10 000 went to Newcastle embroidery artist ­Cynthia Msibi, while Kloof ­artist Michele Silk won the R5 000 third prize. Their work, together with that of the 20 other finalists, can be viewed at the KZNSA Gallery in ­Bulwer Road, Glenwood, until ­August 8.

This year’s judges were Zwelethu Mthethwa, an internationally ­acclaimed artist, Brenton Maart, KZNSA gallery director, and Anthea Martin, former director of the African Art Centre and current director of the KZNSA Gallery Shop. They felt that the work entered for the 2009 award reflected an interesting mix of formally trained and self-taught artists, providing for a fascinating and high-quality exhibition.

Oliver’s winning artwork, The Dance of Life , explores the power of beauty and memory. Comprising 16 pieces using oil on board, it documents her family’s history by examining her own memories, dreams and fragments from the past via ­separate but related and overlayed images.

Oliver usually paints in oils on ­canvas or on board and also enjoys drawing with charcoal. “I like to work with dark tones and strong highlights. I do not always use local colour and like to consider the emotional impact of colour. A strong composition is important and I like to leave some drawn lines visible,” she says of her style.

Second-place winner Msibi is both an artist and a storyteller. Her creation, titled A Loving Wife and Caring Husband, uses fabric appliqué and embroidery to depict the loss felt by a wife living in the country for a ­husband who has gone to the city to find work.

To create her works, she draws on the skills taught to her during her childhood in a Newcastle township by her mother, who was a dress­maker.

Many of her pieces — which are inspired by people and the chemistry between people and the animals — tell stories. “I once did a story about people who grow up and live in rural areas but then look for jobs in the ­cities. They adopt the city way of life and sometimes get stuck while trying to please city people,” she said.

Third-placed Silk was commended by the judges for her experiments with different materials and ­techniques, including assemblage, collage and drawing, when creating her work, Wanted. It comprises a ­series of separate portraits using ­recycled waste materials as a metaphor for the process of changing lives that were previously considered worthless. Her subjects are street children living in Durban.

 

FINALISTS

 

The 2009 Start The Nivea Art Award finalists were: Michele Silk, Leanne Frisinger and Robert Infanti (Kloof); Amy-Jo Windt, Mariek Petzer and Ann Buss (Westville); Veronica Huber (Glenwood); Lara Mellon, Deborah van Niekerk and Diana Maroun (Durban North); Sbusiso Zondo (KwaMashu); Zama Mthiyane (Umlazi); Ashley Jewnarain (Reservoir Hills); Angie Arbuthnot (Everton), Albina Mitchell (Gillits), Janet Solomon (Durban); Ross Passmoor (Pietermaritzburg); Cynthia Msibi (Newcastle); Bheki Gumbi (Nongoma); Kim Bagley (Glenmore); Tony Buckland (Hillcrest); Robyn Cook (Berea); and Jane Oliver (Cowies Hill).

 

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