South Africa’s pre-eminent arts and culture festival, Absa KKNK, has a special treat in store for lovers of South African visual art. This year’s festival, which takes place from 3 to 11 April in Oudtshoorn, features an exhibition that pays homage to the legacy of South Africa’s L’Atelier art competition.
30 years of local visual art
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the L’Atelier art competition, Barclays is bringing together all previous L’Atelier winners and Gerard Sekoto winners in one captivating expression of contemporary South African art.
‘Many of the recipients of the L’Atelier Award and the Gerard Sekoto Award for most promising young artist are locally and internationally celebrated artists who have developed a following and whose works are now highly sought after,’ says Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Art and Museum Curator. “Each of the recipients has carved a unique niche for themselves on the art landscape, and this exhibition showcases these individual talents, how they have matured, and where they stand today as artists.
He adds: ‘We are honoured to be able to unite all these great artists for the first time ever in one vibrant, exciting exhibition that speaks volumes of their success as artists, and our achievements as a country.’
Barclays – a patron of the arts
South Africa has a proud visual art heritage, and is renowned for producing artists of the highest calibre who are inspired by our country in all its diversity.
For the past 30 years, the now Barclays Africa Group has been a part of that heritage, as both a patron of local artists and as an incubator of the arts, nurturing the growth and development of the country’s young artistic talent.
Barclays Africa has facilitated this through two critical arts platforms: it’s sponsorship of the L’Atelier art competition for up-and-coming South African artists – which, from 2015, is will incorporate artists from Botswana, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia – and its sponsorship of the KKNK.
‘It’s only fitting that as the L’Atelier competition celebrates its 30th anniversary, we bring these two vital platforms together. This is also appropriate because as a nation, we have a unique ‘South Africanness’ that is also shared by both L’Atelier and KKNK, which at the heart of their different offerings, tap into the very psyche of our people,’ adds Bayliss.
Promoting the arts through partnerships
The incredible success the L’Atelier art competition has achieved over the past 30 years and its entrenchment in the South African visual art scene has been made possible through the strong partnerships Barclays has enjoyed with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), the Alliance Française in South Africa, the French Embassy in South Africa, the French Institute, the Ampersand Foundation and the Sylt Quelle Foundation – all of which have played, and continue to play, a valuable role in supporting the winning artists over the years.
Following its showing at the KKNK, the L’Atelier art exhibition will be showcased in Johannesburg from 11 – 29 May 2015 at the Absa Gallery.