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ENTER FOR START! (article first published : 2008-01-3)

For undiscovered artists wanting to start a career in the visual arts, then START. THE NIVEA ART AWARD is the answer! Talents in the visual arts are being called upon to enter this exciting competition, now in its fourth year, in which one talented finalist will take home a first prize of R20,000. For the first time, START. The Nivea Art Award will also provide each of the 25 finalists with mentoring by professional artists.

START. The Nivea Art Award was created by Beiersdorf as a way to proactively uncover artists in KwaZulu-Natal with unique talents, giving them the opportunity to kick-start a career in the arts. This will be achieved through a three-week exhibition in a professional gallery, plus prize money totalling R35,000. In addition, the mentorship programme provides the finalists with significant benefits: Because most of the artists who enter START. The Nivea Award are amateurs trying to turn professional, the competition can be a daunting process. Finalists will therefore be assigned mentors to guide and support them through the process, not only from a creative and technical perspective, but also in terms of other important aspects such as use of materials, pricing of their works, etcetera.

Ann-Christin Wagenmann, Managing Director of Beiersdorf South Africa, comments, “There is a rich vein of artistic talent in KwaZulu-Natal, however there are limited opportunities and funding for artists in this region. ‘START’ was created by Beiersdorf as a way to assist in the development of aspiring artistic talents, by providing them with a platform to showcase their work in a professional gallery. Not only do the winners receive substantial cash prizes to help launch a career in the arts, but all finalists and winners also receive great exposure to potential art collectors, media and the public. “

KZNSA Gallery Curator, Brenton Maart, adds, “The art world is currently working on gaining additional funding for artists and craftsmen from the government. While funding is being provided, and community art centres are becoming more common, local artists need more than this to help them turn talents into careers. START. The Nivea Art Award provides an excellent opportunity for artists to grow and I would encourage all emerging KwaZuluNatal artists to enter this exciting competition.”

Artists are required to submit an entry form and visual art portfolio comprising no less than three jumbo-sized photographs of their existing two dimensional art pieces (drawings, prints, photography, collage, wall hangings or even fabric art works). Artists must be over 18 years of age. Artists should not have received any previous exposure via local or overseas exhibitions, major art prizes or accolades.

The judges will select 25 finalists from entries received from all over KwaZulu-Natal. These finalists will then be commissioned to create a unique artwork within a three-month time frame. The artwork is required to reflect the theme, in any medium that can hang on a wall. In terms of size, the artwork is required to measure a minimum of one metre on any one side, with a maximum of 1.5 metres on any one side. The work will be framed by Beiersdorf. All finalist artworks will be exhibited for sale at the KZNSA Gallery from July 8 to August 2.

An awards ceremony will be held at the opening of the exhibition on July 8, to which the finalists, members of the art world, public and media will be invited. Three winners will be chosen for first, second and third place, each winning substantial cash prizes: R20,000 for the winner, R10,000 for second prize and R5,000 for third. During the prestigious awards ceremony that precedes this exhibition and names the winners, the public will also have an opportunity to purchase these unique artworks.

Entries to START. The Nivea Art Award close on February 5, 2008. Entry forms are available at most art centres including African Art Centre and KZNSA Gallery in Durban. More details on 031 573 2154 or email nivea.art.award@beiersdorf.com




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