Unpacking social stereotypes

Absa L'Atelier
Priscilla Kennedy | Untitled | 2016 | Ghana

The First Merit Award for this year’s Absa L’Atelier is Ghanian artist Priscilla Kennedy.

Priscilla Kennedy (b.1994) is presently studying towards a BA (Fine Arts) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Since 2015 she has participated in several group exhibitions in Ghana. Of her Untitled work, Kennedy says, ‘This body of work depicts an embroidered female figure in pink underwear on a forest green keffiyeh (scarf), trying to hold both hands at her back – this may seem impossible but she still tries. This takes a jab at the social stereotype that women are tools of seduction. There is this kind of sacredness that the piece may seem to profane but it’s not only the profanity that the work portrays but also the sacredness of this particular headdress. With the kind of iconography and paradox that comes into the work, it’s literally giving women visibility through both the work’s medium and its artistic technique, considering the [contradictory] nature of both materials. This work of art renders a two dimensional view; the front which may be perceived as accomplished and the back that looks loose.’ Kennedy wins a three-month residency at The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in Johannesburg, a return flight to Johannesburg, 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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