Visual artist Nkululeko Nkebe won the top prize in this year’s Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition. He was announced as the overall winner at a ceremony held at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein on Thursday (08/11). Nkebe received R50 000 for his visually striking work, Youth “Slaves” to Education.His work comments on the struggles of youth to get education, and the fine line that exists between finding work and slipping into a life of crime and poverty, driven by economic necessity. The panel of four judges agreed that, with the exceptional use of pen on paper, and the outstanding composition and execution, Nkebe has visually and movingly invoked the viewer to consider the frail economic position of today’s youth in relation to the demand for education. The panel agreed that Nkebe displayed great ability in his work. The panel consisted of Dr Same Mdluli, manager of the Standard Bank Art Gallery in Johannesburg, Lawrence Lemaoana, renowned Johannesburg artist, Karen Brusch, former director of Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg and Pauline Gutter, founder of the Free State Art Collective. Gutter is also a renowned Free State-based painter and the 2013 winner of the Absa L`Atelier competition. Living in Bloemfontein, Nkebe is studying towards a national diploma in Fine Arts at the Central University of Technology (CUT).He majors in mixed media and installation art. Nkebe discovered his talent as a learner of the Reamohetse High School in his home town of Botshabelo. He matriculated in 2009, after which he studied music, visual culture and design. The runner-up prize of R20 000 went to Katlego Mogoera, also an arts student at CUT. She was chosen for her striking photograph entitled Girl balancing cigarette on lips. For the first prize in the competition, the judges’ views and those of the public have converged, with Mogoera receiving nearly 400 votes to claim the public choice award as well, and receiving an additional R10 000 in prize money. With the two merit awards, the judges had a bit more leeway to identify, support and incentivise the artists that they felt showed promise, talent and the ability to take their art to the next level.These awards to the value of R10 000 went to Petra Schutte, former arts student of the University of the Free State, and Xola Sello, another arts student at CUT.In her work Expiration of my environment, Schutte visually – through the use of pigment ink, pastel and pencil – portrayed her message about the impact of the ever-increasing accumulation of waste on the environment. Sello received the merit award for his work My economy, in which he used pen and pastel on paper to comment on the state of the South African economy in a collection of four drawings. Sello’s passion for art became clearly visible while at Reamohetse Secondary in Botshabelo.