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MTN NEW CONTEMPORARIES AWARDS (article first published : 2008-07-2)

The fourth MTN New Contemporaries Awards is imminent – the prize-giving event is only a week or so away, on July 10 July. The spotlight focuses on one of the most anticipated announcements in the art industry, the names of the four artists selected to show their new works at the University of Johannesburg’s ultra-contemporary gallery. One of the nominees will win the coveted 2008 MTN New Contemporaries Art Award.

Melissa Mboweni, the curator appointed by the MTN SA Foundation for the 2008 MTN New Contemporaries Award, has brought to the role a wealth of experience that was critical for selecting the four nominees. With support from an energetic team at the MTN SA Foundation, she has determined the artistic direction of the competition, and in so doing helped fashion the contemporary art trends we can expect to see in the near future in South Africa.

This has been a rewarding process for Mboweni, who recounts that “…nominating the four artists for the MTN New Contemporaries Award is something of an exciting expedition. I started the process with a national research project two months ago, involving tours to studios and galleries, and in-depth discussions with artists. And now, after weeks of deliberation, anticipation, speculation and excitement, the nominees list is final,” said Melissa Mboweni.

The artists who’ll be going up against each other at one of the most prestigious events on South Africa’s contemporary art calendar are Michael MacGarry, Daniel Halter, Themba Shibase and Dineo Bopape. Though their works are distinctly different from each other, there are some exciting congruencies between their ideas, particularly in their engagement with social issues in post-colonial southern Africa.




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