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COUNTDOWN TO BRETT KEBBLE AWARDS (article first published : 2004-09-27)

Curator Clive van den Berg and his team are working against the clock to mount the finalists' exhibition of the country's premier visual arts accolade, The Brett Kebble Art Awards.

To adapt a four-storey high 2030-square metre exhibition hall in the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the Awards exhibition, they have to install a specially designed interior. The created space will have 400 running metres of wall space and some 25 booths for video works and projection screens to show off the finalists' works to their best advantage, and more than 600 lights will be needed to ensure best viewing conditions.

In 2004 the second annual Awards drew over 2,000 entries, from which 183 finalists were selected. This year's event is a logistical feat that has been in the planning and preparation stages for 12 months. A team of five selectors and curators, with additional support and camera crew of four, travelled thousands of kilometres in a total of 30 days to 28 venues in seven provinces to promote the Awards and ensure a representative selection of the best contemporary South African art.

The largest selected entry is a 110-metre tapestry by the Keiskamma Art Project, and the smallest piece on the show is a piece of jewellery 3,5 x 3 cm. by Cape Town artist Ida-Elsje Olivier.

Artists had to be at least 21 years old to qualify, and the oldest artist in the running for the coveted Kebble is 82. There were also two sets of twins counted amoung the finalists! Over 9,500 entry forms in seven languages were distributed, and queues of entrants over 15 metres long were recorded outside several entry points across South Africa. Almost 2,500 entries were received. Six trucks were used to transport the 237 selected works, which were wrapped in over 1400 metres of bubble wrap. More than 240 boxes and crates were used to ensure the works arrived safely at their Cape Town storage venue.

The five judges now have the considerable task of choosing the winner of the R200,000 main prize and six R60,000 additional prizes. The finalists' works will be exhibited to the public from October 17 to 29 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Convention Square, 1 Lower Long Street, Cape Town.Viewing times are between 09h00 to 21h00 daily. Entrance is free and curators will be available for walkabouts.

Further information on 021 761 0549, e-mail: art@barritt.co.za or visit www.bkaa.co.za




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