Lady Skollie's 'pop culture take on cave drawings' wins at the Art Joburg Fair

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Lady Skollie has been awarded the 2020 FNB Art Prize.
Lady Skollie has been awarded the 2020 FNB Art Prize.
  • Every year, as a part of the annual Art Joburg Fair, FNB selects an artist to honour with an exhibition, cash prize and a residency to support .
  • For 2020 the judging committee selected Lady Skollie, an artist specialising in large scale drawings that act as protest and education. 
  • In addition to the art prize, the artist is set to open her next solo show in Cape Town on 11 November 2020.

The 2020 FNB Art Prize recipient was selected by a committee made up of Khwezi Gule (Chief Curator, Johannesburg Art Gallery), Aspasia Karras (Sunday Times Lifestyle, Edit, Edit Man, Business Day Wanted and Sowetan Magazine editor) and Nicole Siegenthaler (fair manager FNB Art Joburg). Together they decided to award the tenth annual FNB Art Prize to Lady Skollie. 

In commenting on the decision to award Lady Skollie, Karras says:

Lady Skollie has an incredible energy and an inherent vigour that makes her work both timely and timeless. Her work feels of the moment – it speaks to the greater narratives in our country, sometimes with wit, sometimes with poignant beauty.

Specialising in large scale drawings, Lady Skollie works in ink, watercolours, crayons and gold leaf on Fabriano paper. 

Characterised by bold colours, phallic and yonic-like fruits, and what the artist refers to as “a pop culture take on cave drawings”, Lady Skollie’s large-scale drawings go beyond offering visual commentary on sex, politics and racial identity from the perspective of a coloured woman in neo-colonial South Africa. Instead her multimodal approach is a site of protest and a means of education. 

Since 2014 the artist has had over ten solo shows held at Cape Town’s Association for Visual arts Gallery and Worldart Gallery in Cape Town; the Stevenson galleries in both Cape Town and Johannesburg; TMRW Gallery in Johannesburg; Everard Read in Johannesburg and London; as well as London’s Tyburn Gallery. 

On receiving the news, the artist remarked on the win saying:  

As someone who never fit in, someone who dropped out of art school, someone who only got South African representation at the age of 31, winning a local art prize makes me feel like my existence in it is validated.

In addition to a page on the online fair, which will take place from 6 to 18 November and a cash prize, Lady Skollie will receive an international residency that looks to offer more meaningful support in building sustainable careers for African artists. This residency will take place next year. 

For the time being  Lady Skollie’s next solo exhibition is set to take place from 11 November 2020. Titled Bound, the show references writings by and about women in captivity and isolation. With this in mind the artist wonders and imagines captivity and the cyclical attempts at escaping it.

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