Photographer/filmmaker Lebohang Kganye wins Sasol New Signatures 2017

Johannesburg-based artist Lebohang Kganye, 27, has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition.

Kganye won the coveted award for her animated film Ke sale teng, which means ‘I’m still here’ in Sesotho. The film confronts how family photo albums no longer have a fixed narrative but instead open up the past to reinterpretation. It interrogates our need to preserve a certain narrative. ‘Sometimes we rely on the family photo album as a way to understand what family is meant to be,’ says Kganye. ‘What we often land up with is a grouping of images that have been constructed, and perhaps do not account at all for the histories and memories that are connected to that album.’ Through the use of silhouette cutouts of family members and other props in a diorama, Ke sale teng confronts the conflicting stories, which are told in multiple ways, even by the same person – memory combined with fantasy. As the winner of Sasol New Signatures, Kganye walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition in 2018 at the Pretoria Art Museum.

Sasol New Signatures
Carol Anne Preston | Cocoon detail

Acclaimed artist, judge and Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Dr Pieter Binsbergen, says most of the finalists’ works harnessed materials of a multisensory nature, ‘holding the viewer captive for longer periods of time, thus driving home the pressing social, political, and environmental issues South Africa grapples with.’ This year’s Sasol New Signatures theme was ‘be discovered’. The theme sought to challenge artists to come to the fore, and showcase their talent to the country’s art-loving public. ‘The works of the 2017 Sasol New Signatures winners and finalists have lived up to the history and intention of the competition, and showcases what South African artists are capable of,’ says Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive President for Corporate Affairs and Human Resources. ‘Noteworthy this year has also been the diversity of the submissions received. This demonstrates that Sasol New Signatures is making progress in reaching emerging artists from all walks of life.’

Sasol New Signatures
Sthenjwa Hopewell Luthuli | Umbamgo (conflict)

Coming in second place was Sthenjwa Luthuli from KwaZulu-Natal. He wins for his woodcut work titled Umbango, which means ‘conflict’ in isiZulu. The work reflects the cultural politics within traditional Zulu rituals and customs in a contemporary family setting. The five Merit Award Winners are: Francke Gretchen Crots (Johannesburg) for her ceramic tile booklet Doctor Crots’s fucked up anatomy; Goitseone Botlhale Moerane (Pretoria) for her mixed media work Mosadi o tswara thipa ka bogaleng; Carol Anne Preston (Pretoria) for her work Cocoon, an installation made out of metal shavings; Emily Harriet Bülbring Robertson (Cape Town) for her works Emergency procedure for dinner with family and In case of surprise visit from parents; and Cara-Jo Tredoux (Pretoria) for her oil on wood painting entitled WanderingEach Merit Award winner received a R10 000 cash prize. Last year’s Sasol New Signatures winner Zyma Amien will be hosting her solo exhibition, “Real” lives and “Ordinary” objects: Partisan art-making strategies with garment workers in the Western Cape… continuation, alongside this year’s winning works at the Pretoria Art Museum. All 119 shortlisted artworks will be exhibited alongside the winners at the Pretoria Art Museum from 31 August until 8 October 2017.

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