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ABSA ART AWARD SOON! (article first published : 2002-07-20)

The overall winner of the coveted national Absa L'Atelier Art Award 2002 will be announced on July 24 at a gathering of art connoisseurs in Johannesburg.

The Award comes with a R70,000 cash prize (an increase of R10,000 from previous years) and a six-month sabbatical at the Cité Internationale des Arts in France, courtesy of financial services group, Absa. Four runner-ups will each receive R15,000 in cash (an increase of R5,000 per winner from previous years).

Members of the public are invited to view the 89 works that were selected from entries received around the country at the Absa Gallery in downtown Johannesburg. The exhibition runs until August 16.

Says Cecile Loedolff, manager of Arts at Absa: "Art is alive and kicking! The standard of entries for this year's L'Atelier impressed the judges who had a hard time choosing the Top 10 works. For the first time in the history of the competition, photographic entries have featured prominently. Also noticeable is the dramatic use of colour in comparison to the severity of previous years.

"As a social barometer, entries for the L'Atelier portray prominent issues such as abortion and crime, although this year there seems to be much less violence and even some humour in the portrayal."

The annual competition, now in its 17th year, is the longest running art competition in the country. Endorsed by the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) but entirely financed by Absa, the L'Atelier has become an essential landmark in the lives of young artists aged 21 to 35.

Says Angela Bruwer, General Manager: Absa Group Communication & Public Affairs: "The importance of the Absa L'Atelier competition must not be underestimated. For any young artist, recognition is vital - for the inspiration and motivation to carry on and to become winners. It also serves to introduce these new, relatively unknown artists to gallerists, art-buyers and to the general public."

The L'Atelier has provided an important stepping stone to previous winners who have reached local and international fame, such as Karel Nel, Penny Siopis and Dianne Victor and those who are on their way, like Colbert Mashile, Ryan Arenson, Brad Hammond, Lucas Bambo and Stefanus Rademeyer.

The finalists in the running for this year's Absa L'Atelier Art Award 2002 include KZN artists: Ruth Deall, Peter Ford, Langa Magwa and Janine-Mari Petzer.

More details on 011 350-5139.




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