Where the young things are...

2011-11-04 08:10

Now in their 28th instalment, the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year awards are arguably the most important as a springboard for young artists.

Over the years, the awards have highlighted South Africa’s notable creators, as well as helped affirm their careers. Previous winners include singing sensation Tutu Puoane, the late grand pianist Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and international art superstar William Kentridge.

This year’s winners were announced to deserved pomp and ceremony on Wednesday night. As part of their prize, each of the five winners will be featured on the main programme of next year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, where they will be given the opportunity to develop and showcase new works.

» Music: Kelebogile Pearl Boikanyo (24)

Boikanyo is fast becoming a steady feature in South African opera. The Pretoria-born and Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) educated soprano made her professional debut in 2007 with South African superstar tenor Johan Botha in Opera Africa’s Opera Extravaganza.

A year later, she dazzled as the High Priestess in Verdi’s Aïda and made her international debut as Queen Silomo in the isiZulu opera Princess Magogo at Den Norske Opera in Norway. This was before playing Echo in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at the Royal Opera de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium.

» Visual art: Mikhael Subotzky (30)

Born in Cape Town, this photographer now calls Joburg home. He has notably produced work in collaboration with British artist Patrick Waterhouse, whom he met while on residency in Italy.

His work has been exhibited in major galleries and museums, and his prints are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, among others.

» Theatre: Princess Zinzi Mhlongo (25)

The spunky actress, writer and director was born in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga. She cut her theatrical teeth at the St Thomas Aquinas School as a member of the Witbank Youth Theatre and went on to pursue a degree in drama at TUT.
In 2008, Mhlongo made her professional debut by directing Zakes Mda’s And The Girls in Their Sunday Dresses at the State Theatre.

» Dance: Bailey Snyman (33)

Snyman is a Kimberley native who has been involved in theatre since his school days. He moved to Joburg five years ago and with Nicola Haskins he started the Matchbox Theatre Collective before jetting off to London to perform at the acclaimed Laban Centre.

Since 2008, Snyman has held a lecturing position at at Wits University. He is currently working towards a PhD.

» Jazz: Afrika Mkhize (31)

This jazz pianist is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s brightest stars in the genre. Born in Durban into a musical family, Mkhize started playing the piano at the age of six.

At 15 he was accepted into the National School of the Arts to further his classical-music studies. In 1999, he enrolled at the then Pretoria Technikon (now TUT) to study jazz, composition and arranging.

He has worked as a musical director and pianist for the late Miriam Makeba, and also contributed arrangements for the Roma Philharmonic Orchestra in Italy on her request. He is currently scoring Big Band arrangements in honour of Bheki Mseleku.

The winners are (clockwise from left): Mikhael Subotzky (visual art), Afrika Mkhize (jazz), Bailey Snyman (dance), Kelebogile Pearl Boikanyo (opera) and Princess Zinzi Mhlongo (theatre)

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