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ABSA ART WINNER (article first published : 2000-07-23)

South Africa’s premier art award, the Absa Atelier, was presented to Brad (Bradley) Hammond for his video artwork titled Inner City. Merit award winners, each of which received R10,000, were Nigel Mullins, Colbert Mashile, Natasha Christopher and Joni Brenner.

Brad Hammond (26) was born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1974. He studied BA (FA) at the University of the Witwatersrand and graduated with distinction. He has participated in several exhibitions and received an Absa Atelier Merit Award in 1999. With R60,000 in his pocket, a round trip to France and up to six months stay at the Cité Internationale des Arts, an artists' community in the heart of Paris, he has an opportunity only dreamt of by many of his peers.

In Inner City a collection of four videos, the artist explores “both the external (physically) as well as the internal (psychologically) sublimity of city life.” It depicts a flashing neon Coca Cola sign. The rhythmic "flash and pause" creates a timelessness forcing one to hesitate or even meditate in a spiritual space away from haste, speed or stress. Timelessness and meditation as depicted in a flashing neon sign in Inner City and the calm and spaciousness of an endless water surface as depicted in Breathfield, evoke each in its own way the same desire to meditate in a state of total freedom and non-alignment.

"The Absa Atelier Competition is like a bubbling spring of hope for the aspiring young artists seeking a niche for themselves in a hard and competitive art world," says Conrad Theys, National President of the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) which endorses the Absa Atelier competition. The finalist panel of judges comprised Ben Nsusha; Melvyn Minnaar; Karel Nel and Sam Nhlengethwa.




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