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KEBBLE AWARDS DOUBLE (article first published : 2003-11-30)

On November 27, I was part of a media group flown to Cape Town for the launch of the 2004 Brett Kebble Art Awards. The other KZN arts journalist was Marianne Meijer who is The Mercury’s visual arts columnist and my assistant editor on D’ARTS Magazine.

The launch was held in the sumptuous surroundings and beautiful gardens of Brett Kebble’s working environment in Bishopscourt. Excellent Cape wines and beautifully-presented delicious snacks were served in true Capetonian elegance and style to a gathering of the who’s who in the local art world. Much amusement was had from a magnificent peacock which was highly vocal during the speeches until Brett Kebble threatened to remove the peacock isignia from the logo!

Now in its second year of operation, The Brett Kebble Art Award is the richest art award in South Africa. It was announced that next year, this commitment to the arts will double. Six top works will each receive R60,000 whilst the overall winner will be awarded R200,000. In addition, merit awards of R10,000 will be allocated by the judges at their discretion.

While artwork was selected from photographs in 2003, 2004 will see the selectors and curator travelling to regional centres including Durban and Pietermaritzburg where they will view the original works before making a selection. This is a much fairer form of selection as many community artists do not have access to professional photographers to portray their work to best effect.

For Marianne and I, further good news of the day was that the curator of the Brett Kebble Art Awards for 2004 will be Clive van den Berg. A former Durban artist and Technikon Natal (now DIT) lecturer, he now lives in Johannesburg but still keeps in close contact with KZN. He is currently assembling an apartheid history exhibition on Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg which opens in March 2004.

Clive originally designed the fountain outside the Workshop which has now been made an AIDS memorial. Clive’s work will be featured on the next Red Eye @rt at the Durban Art Gallery on December 12 although he won’t be in town in person.

In 2003, the Kebble Art Awards attracted the largest entry for any South African art event with more than 1,600 submissions received from which 161 were selected as finalists. It is expected that the 2004 event will attract an even larger number.

Works submitted for the Award across all categories will have to have been produced between May 31 2003 and May 31 2004. Once work has been selected it will be taken to Cape Town and hung at an exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre where the judging panel will select the top works. The awards will be made on October 2, 2004.

Artists are invited to submit works at the regional centres by May 31, 2004. Each work must be accompanied by an official submission form which is available on the website on www.bkaa.co.za or from the Brett Kebble Art Awards offices in Cape Town on 021 710 1712. The Terms and Conditions, also to be found on the website, are available in Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English. – Caroline Smart




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