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ABSA L’ATELIER AWARDS (article first published : 2004-12-17)

Artists are invited to submit entries for the Absa L’Atelier competition, South Africa’s most prestigious art award and Africa’s richest art competition for young artists with prize money totalling R400,000. The competition is held annually for artists aged between 21 and 35.

This year sees the competition celebrate its 20th year and is expected to produce the highest quality of entries in its prestigious history, as this country’s most promising artists strive to land the sought-after prize of a six-month study period at the prestigious Cité Internationale des Arts in the heart of Paris. Here they will be exposed to art and artists from around the world.

The prize includes R100,000 pocket money, a return ticket to France and free access to galleries and museums in the capital. Last year’s winner was Conrad Botes.

A welcome addition to the competition is the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising disadvantaged artist with an income of less than R60,000 a year. The award – now in its second year – comprises a return ticket to Paris, three months accommodation at the Cité, nationwide touring exhibitions and French language classes. The total value of this prize is R80,000. It was won last year by Belinda Zangewa.

In addition, four merit award winners will each pocket R20,000 and while the top 10 finalists will receive a R1,000 bonus prize. This brings the total prize value of the Absa L’Atelier art competition to R400,000.

Art is very often relegated to a small corner of today’s modern society. However, banking giant Absa believes that art is an integral part of the human experience and so are proud to be sponsors of the contest.

The Absa L’Atelier competition, presented in conjunction with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), has been the launch pad for the careers of many South African artists who have become household names on the global stage - artists such as Penny Siopis, William Kentridge, Karel Nel, Dianne Victor and Colbert Mashile.

For more information, competition rules, collection points and an entry form contact Cecile Loedolff at Absa on (011) 350-5793. Entries will be collected between March 1 and 4, 2005 or go to www.absa.co.za




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