Finalists for NNA and Latitudes awards for women visual artists announced

The 12 female visual artists are fighting it out for top art honours in these inaugural awards whose finals are on August, 9, 2022, Women’s Day.

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

If you are part of the visual art community you must have heard about these awards introduced sometime early this year. And they are quite flexible about who qualifies to enter for them, for as long as you are a woman artist, and please this time no man artist is eligible to enter as you may recall.

And of course the awards ceremony has since received entries, and according to the organisers, the interest is huge in these awards. And now is the time to present the finalists as the finale is finally coming to its natural end, and of course the triumph of those who will be declared the winners. And of course as CITYLIFE/ARTS we are equally anxious as much as you are about who are those that have reached the finals of these awards, and even more so about those the judges will declare the inaugural winners at the awards ceremony. And just to recap, when the awards were first announced, this is what the oragnisers said at the time.

NNA and Latitudes, two female-centric South African brands, have joined forces to create an exciting new art award. The aim of the award is to discover, recognise and nurture a new generation of women artists in South Africa. For both ANNA and Latitudes, it is crucial that the ANNA Award is as inclusive as possible. As such, no formal art training is required in order to apply, there are no age restrictions for applicants, and the competition is open to women artists working in any medium. “

“In a patriarchal world, having such an important award to give women the opportunity to take up space and being celebrated for that is so fundamental. Period,” said Candice Chirwa, one of the judges.

“The most powerful and appealing aspect of the ANNA Award is its inclusivity. No age restriction, no formal training, no limits other than pure creativity,” said well know fashion designer Marianne Fassler, who is also one of the judges.

“We are thrilled to say that the application process far surpassed our expectations, and that we received over 600 applications from artists across the country. After a hugely inspiring selection process, we are proud to present the 12 finalists of the ANNA Award,” said the organisers in a statement yesterday.

CITYLIFE/ARTS here presents all the 12 finalists as follows:

Charlae Baragwanath-Barter

“For over 60 years I honed my art skills in lithography and print. However, due to diminishing motor skills, I started working with free motion machine stitch, creativity will find a way.

Your beautifully worded open call to all creative people inspired me to submit my recent work. The sheer perseverance I embody as an older person working in a different medium could be a reason to be considered for this incredible opportunity.”

Lerato Nkosi

“My work employs ink and stamps as a vital, organic, multifaceted material. For me, ink and stamps are mediums that stain and certify with their contact on any surface, these materials are those that never leave a surface the same after being in contact with it. The stamp and ink is always used to verify and ordain documents of importance which grants the holder automatic approval to the decision of others, this process is always handled by an individual of authority.

The teachings from parent to female child is embedded in and never leaves her the same, She is impressionable, with the ideas that whatsoever has been stamped and inked upon her is approved. The medium tempers heavier subjects that deal with the expectations on women. Investigating the medium allows me to overcome daily conundrums and escape the victim mentality.

Farhana Jacobs

“I am a self-taught artist based in Johannesburg. My work interrogates the relationship women have with their surroundings, with themselves and how they navigate hostile external structures of patriarchy and limiting belief systems. In my work, women’s bodies are offered as a terrain of contestation – as landscapes upon which these hostile surroundings and contexts are re-purposed and re-imagined. I am interested in how the effects of patriarchy and the overarching superstructures shape and form the outlook of women, both in their physicality and in ways unseen. Weaving their significance on women’s experiences, expressions of autonomy, narratives and imagination. The work I undertake not only aims to understand these landscapes but also to hopefully unearth them – with the aim and hope of unveiling what tries to remain unseen.

Fiona Davhana

“My creativity comes from a personal place yet is relatable to a number of other women. I am creating work that urges society to take an in-depth look at the challenges some mothers have come to face since having their children, work that creates conversations that would normally be seen as taboo.

Muvhili a si Tsimbi is an ongoing body of work that explores the theme of motherhood – the mental and physical changes as well as the challenges some mothers experience during pregnancy and after childbirth. I address the traumas of childbirth, the loss of sense of self, the panic, and the anxiety.

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Hemali Khoosal

“As a socially-engaged artist who works to connect people from seemingly disparate worlds, I see the value of art as a tool for finding common ground and building empathy. Crucial to building empathy is giving a platform to take up space and be seen and recognised. This is what my filmic work and conversational work attempts to do. As a woman-of-colour, my positionality allows me to work from a place of mutual understanding with many of the people I get to collaborate with. I have experienced what it is like to feel othered in the art space, and have understood first-hand the repercussions of underrepresentation. I am genuinely invested in paying forward the mentorship and care that I have been so lucky to encounter whilst finding my home in what can be a very daunting industry for women-of-colour.”

Gugulethu Mnguni

“Gugulethu Mnguni was born in Soweto, Johannesburg South Africa. Mnguni matriculated in 2018 at Lux College where she took art. She is currently completing her third year at Artist Proof Studio. In 2020, she exhibited her work in Vancouver as part of a group exhibition on Climate Change. Recently, Mnguni has joined the Art in Action (AiA) Online Exhibition. She aims to finish her 3rd year at APS and become a practising international African female artist.”

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Mbali Tshabalala

“The paradox I address in my work is one I believe a multitude of black women like myself can relate to and as such I believe that being a recipient of this award would set the stage for this dialog, for the process of unlearning, toward self discovery and healing.”

Motlhoki Nono

“My work is merely an earnest attempt towards a romantic matrilineal family archive that maps the lines of intimacy, violence and points of solidarity in the experiences of love for black women. I find that love is a universal experience. I simply want to participate in centering the narratives of black romance as a universal experience, and to investigate the contours of the romantic experiences of black women. With that said, I think that my practice demonstrates high levels of independence and ambition, where I work with a confidence and curiosity across disciplines to produce work that is urgent, decolonial and relevant to the sociological enquiries of love.Along with the institutional support of Latitudes, I think that the award would stretch the lungs of my work so that it can ask the question more loudly: What does a feminist and decolonial love look like for black women like ourselves?”

Nadine Mathenjwa

“I am a young woman emerging in the art industry. I enjoy painting, printmaking and exploring fashion within the creative space. As an emerging artist I’ve experienced the hardship of creating work consistently without funding as well as sharing the same view about the shortage of female artist in the industry. I took the opportunity to apply for the ANNA Award in the hopes of giving my work exposure and further working toward the position of becoming a successful young female artist in the industry.

I am consistent in creative work, I would very much appreciate being given the opportunity of showing my work on an international scale. I would also like to give gratitude for giving me and all the other female artists an opportunity of this magnitude

Soliana Tewolde

“I am a first generation immigrant child. My pictures are a story of my heritage, pieces of my people that were never given the chance to shine due to a treacherous history.

When I was born I was given the name Soliana which means “The Light of God”. Yet as life has gone on I’ve gone by many names and have been through many careers, yet, the title I prefer is Story Teller. To me, this means a relater of anecdotes, a reciter of tales, a visual writer of stories.

Through my travels in Eritrea. I arrived in Massawa, one of the hottest cities in the world, and the warm wind deeply kissed my lungs until I begged for cold water. In the above photograph, the water connects directly to the Nile river and the Red Sea – in the most beautiful shade of blue.”

Sinalo Ngcaba

“I’ve lived around the country and picked up inspiration from all the different cultures I’ve been surrounded by. This is why I use so much colour and variety in my work as I want to represent what it means to be young, black and female in Africa right now. I would love to use some of the prize money to create a large scale mural together with young girls in my hometown village Mbizana, Eastern Cape. Growing up there, I’ve always seen a lack of art or access to art and I think experiencing creativity should not be determined by your social economic background. One of my dreams is to have an after school art programme in Mbizana to show not only the young girls and boys but the whole community that creativity and art can help make the world a better place.”

Thembi Mthembu

“I have been practising art for almost 5 years and I am now fully confident in the skills and my voice. I feel it’s time I get out there to make an impact, be recognised and be counted as one of the women who contributed in the art world during our time.”

FIRST PRIZE

R100,000 cash prize from ANNA, a month residency at PLAAS #inplaasvan in Franschhoek, South Africa, a profile on Latitudes Online, and a year’s supply of ANNA products. Their winning artwork will be included in the ANNA Awards Collection.

SPECIAL PRIZE

The 12 finalists are be presented to the audience, who are invited to vote for an Audience Award winner. This artist will receive a profile on Latitudes Online and a year’s supply of ANNA products. 

.The winner will be announced on August 9, 2022, Women’s Day.

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