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THANDO MAMA TOPS (article first published : 2004-06-18)

Recent fine arts graduate from the Durban Institute of Technology, Thando Mama, was awarded the Prize from the Belgian Community at the prestigious Dakar Biennale held in Senegal in May. The prize will enable him to spend a few months in Belgium as part of a residency programme. The award confirms that this young South African artist is worth watching.

Announcing the award in the presence of Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, jury president Sara Diamond praised Mama's video installation, We Are Afraid. "By limiting and focusing our sensory experience, this engaging young artist places a poignant, personal aesthetic against the backdrop of globalisation."

The prizewinners included Michele Magema of Democratic Republic of Congo, Asmae Lahkim Bennani of Morocco, Jules Bertrand Wokam of Cameroon and Khaled Hafez and Maha Maamoun of Egypt.

Jury members included Diamond, Artistic Director, Media and Visual Arts, The Banff Centre, Canada; Meskerem Assegued, Director, Zona Contemporary Art Centre, Ethiopia; Emma Bedford, Head of Art Collections and Curator of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture at Iziko South African National Gallery; Thomas Boutoux, art critic and independent curator, Paris; Gerald Matt, Director of Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria and Didier Schaub, Director of l'Espace Doual'art, Cameroon.

Five South Africans were selected from the over 350 artists who submitted portfolios. They include Mgcineni Sobopha, Doreen Southwood, Greg Smith, Sue Williamson and Thando Mama.

Thando Mama's prize-winning video can be seen alongside the works of other South African artists on the exhibition A Decade of Democracy: Contemporary South African Art 1994- 2004 which is currently on view at Iziko South African National Gallery.

More information on 021 467 4660/1.




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