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Artist Zanele Montle announced as the 2021 ‘Womxn to Watch’

South African educator and painter Zanele Montle has been announced as the winner of the inaugural Womxn to Watch Award. The Empangeni-born artist, whose work has been previously selected by the 2015 Thami Mnyele Art Awards to appear in their top 100 exhibition, takes an interest in the familial and the quotidian through her work.

‘Through my paintings I strived to capture the beauty of simple living and the mundane, like sitting with family or my grandmother watching television. I celebrate these moments and acknowledge the sense of community.’

South African educator and painter Zanele Montle

The striking use of flatness and primary colours in her work, while situating the characters in domestic or social contexts, suggests a familiarity and an ordinariness. By removing facial details, the artist poses the questions: Who are these people, what have they been through, and how do they feel? The anonymity of the figures depicted by Montle provide the viewer with the possibility to imagine themselves or their loved ones in the artist’s figures, making them all the more intimate.

Zanele Montle
Artist and educator Zanele Montle has been announced as the 2021 Womxn to Watch Award winner

Highlighting South African Womxn Artists

The Womxn to Watch Award is the result of a partnership between The META foundation, The Project Space, and End Street Studios and aims to shine a light on the top womxn talent in South Africa. Artists from across the country are able to apply for the award, which is held annually, with only one artist being selected.

The award provides the artist with the following for a period of six months:

  • A studio space at End Street Studios which includes parking, electricity and water, and uncapped internet
  • The opportunity to participate in any group exhibitions curated by the META foundation
  • The opportunity to participate in any August House activities
  • A solo show with the Project Space
  • Inclusion in August House/META foundation website and publicity materials.

The next edition of the award will be announced late 2021/early 2022, with an open call for entries. For further information on the award and related activities, visit The META Foundation website.

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