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BRETT KEBBLE ART (article first published : 2004-04-14)

The Second Brett Kebble Art Awards offer opportunities for career growth in the visual arts sector.

The 2003 Kebble created history by attracting the largest entry for a South African art event with more than 1,600 submissions received from which 167 were selected as finalists. There is now such widespread interest in the Awards that an even larger number of submissions are expected for the 2004 event.

For 2004, the award money pool has been doubled and technical and size restrictions on the art works entered have been removed. The recipient of the top award will receive R200,000, the largest cash prize in South African art.

Entrepreneur and enthusiastic art collector, Brett Kebble, created the art awards in 2003 as a personal initiative, giving artists from various disciplines the opportunity to showcase and be recognised for their work on a scale never seen before in South Africa. One of the prime objectives of the Award is to highlight the investment potential of South African art.

Among developments profiled at the launch was the introduction of the Brett Kebble Curatorial Fellowship. Awarded for the first time this year to Durbanite, Khwezi Gule, this programme is the first in the country that offers the opportunity to an aspirant curator to learn the craft, under the leadership of Clive van den Berg, the curator of the 2004 exhibition.

Khwezi Gule received his BA in Technology Fine Arts at Technikon Natal (now Durban Institute of Technology), with distinction in 2000. He has since participated in nine group exhibitions both locally and internationally.

A strong believer that visual arts has a contribution to make in South Africa, Khwezi has served as a volunteer art teacher for juveniles awaiting trial at Westville Prison and a researcher for the Centre for Civil Society at the then University of Natal, Durban (now University of KwaZulu-Natal). He also has significant teaching experience in the industry, with stints as lecturer both in Art Theory and Art Appreciation at DIT.

Says Khwezi Gule: "This is a wonderful opportunity and will be a defining force in my career as a curator and artist in South Africa. I am very excited about what lies ahead this year."

Also introduced at this event were the selection panel and judges who will be responsible for selecting works from entries drawn from all over the country.

"We have been fortunate enough to persuade the distinguished judges who presided over the 2003 event to work with us again next year and have also added to their number. We have also expanded the number of selectors," says Kebble. The selection panel consists of artist and curator Clive van den Berg; art administrator and curator of the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries (WAG), Julia Charlton as well as artist and curator of the Constitution Hill collection, Churchill Madikida. This years judges are; painter and photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa, Professor Penny Siopis, head of Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, artist and lecturer Frank Ledimo, art advisor Julia Meintjes and art patron Lucia Burger.

"We feel this panel represent a vast and diverse pool of expertise and aesthetic sensibilities that make them highly qualified to judge the submissions fairly, and assist us in realising our vision to recognise art of the highest aesthetic, formal and conceptual integrity," says van den Berg.

In 2004, six top works will each receive R60,000, whilst one exceptional work will earn its creator R200,000. In addition there will be merit awards of R10,000 to be allocated by the judges at their discretion.

Artists are invited to submit works at the regional centers by May 31. Each work must be accompanied by an official submission form which together with a full list of Terms and Conditions 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 are available in five major languages including Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.




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