Powerful voices reclaiming their spaces

Absa L'Atelier
Manyatsa Monyamane | Koko Meikie | SA

Photographer Manyatsa Monyamane from South Africa has won the Third Merit Award at the 2017 Absa L’Atelier.

Manyatsa Monyamane (b.1989) graduated with a BTech (Photography) from Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. Monyamane has participated in several group exhibitions, including Fresh Produce at Turbine Art Fair 2017In her work Koko Meikie, Monyamane asks, ‘When does a trend begin? Who defines the boundaries and measures of style? Who claims the prize of being the originator of the current most acceptable standard of contemporary beauty? It would be superfluous of us if we were to continue borrowing our grandparents’ rags without acknowledging their primary influence in what we consider fashionable identities today. This project thus focuses on capturing the essence of timeless beauty and style of the youth of the 1970s and earlier, looking at how they define themselves 50 years later. Are they as stylish today as they were when they were teenagers fighting an oppressive system? My argument: yes, indeed! They walk tall and don’t bat an eye to a fleeting trend; rooted in their authenticity, unmoved by the fickle mainstream, no longer an image of helpless wrinkled hands reaching out for life, but instead a movement of powerful voices reclaiming their spaces.’ Monyamane wins a one-month residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New York City, which includes the use of an apartment. She will become a Fellow of the Ampersand Foundation, and will receive an AAM (American Association of Museums) card, which gives her free access to most museums in New York City. The prize includes a return flight to New York City and a monthly stipend.

Read more about the 2017 L’Atelier Competition winners here:

Overall winner, Maral Bolouri – Of Mothers and Others
Gerard Sekoto Award winner, Banele Khoza – Lonely Nights, Temporary Feelings and Note Making
First Merit Award winner, Priscilla Kennedy – Unpacking social stereotypes
Second Merit Award winner, Wilhelmina Nell – ‘A sickening symbol of sloth’
Third Merit Award winner, Manyatsa Monyamane – Powerful voices reclaiming their spaces

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