Two young artists poised to shine in fine art as they are picked as winners for Bag Factory residency

By Edward Tsumele

Two young women are poised for big things in fine art after being selected as winners of the Bag Factory Studio Award winners yesterday, September 22.

This prestigious award comes with handsome pecks geared to push forward the careers of those declared winners, as confirmed the professional career trajectory  for the previous winners.

The Bag Factory Young Womxn Studio Bursary 2021 winners are Princia Matungulu and Kutlwano Monyai declared  co-recipients of this year’s award.

 “The Bag Factory is delighted to announce that Princia Matungulu and Kutlwano Monyai have been selected as joint recipients of the annual Young Womxn Studio Bursary, funded by Bag Factory alumni artist Sam Nhlengethwa. They will share a fully funded studio bursary at the Bag Factory for 12  months from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2022.

 Impressed with both artists’ work and noting how well the previous winners, Cheriese Dilrajh and Hemali Khoosal, worked as co-recipients, we decided to repeat the offer for the bursary to two promising womxn artists for another year.

Princia’s practice is a combination of weaving, sculpture and storytelling; whereby the approach towards the materiality, the intricacy of the weaving process and the resulting sculpture bears record of a personal, inferred or imagined history. Princia employs weaving processes as a form of silent protest — a means of understanding Congolese traditions, norms and values of ‘proper’ womanhood, which sometimes overlap and intersect with those of women from the African diaspora.

 Kutlwano uses familiar materials that resonates with her life experiences and has over the years mastered her style of painting and mixed materials experiments which germinated from the obsession of maps. We cannot wait to see what they produce as individual artists as well as collaborators while at the Bag Factory.,” the organisers announced in a statement yesterday.

The artists

Matungulu, born in 1999 in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, is a Johannesburg based artist currently completing her degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. As a Congolese immigrant navigating through the South African landscape, she draws from her background and identity. Her series of work, Nouveaux Mémoire Vieux Pagne, 2020 (New Memory Old Cloth) was part of Archive of Forgetfulness’ group exhibition. She has been part of the Cosmosis exhibition at The Holy Art Gallery in London, UK and has also recently been a finalist and participant of the Wits Young Artist Award 2021.

 Monyai, born in 1996, in Limpopo, South Africa, has a degree in Fine and Applied Arts from the Tshwane University of Technology (2018). She is currently practicing as a full time artist, art researcher and a writer. Kutlwano has exhibited in a number of group shows which includes the 2016 Top 100 for Thami Mnyele Awards, The Hybrid Culture in 2016 at Tut Gallery, Abstraction Through Figuration at Art Lovers in 2017, Joburg Fringe in 2018 at the Project Space, The Genesis 2018 hosted at the Pretoria Art Museum and later at the BKhz studios, Turbine Art Fair 2019 with UNTITL’D collective, KASRP Exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2019.

Kutlwano was an education assistant at the Pretoria Art Museum from 2017 to 2019 and has exhibited with She Impressions under their 2021 She empowered project. She participated in the Beads & Air (Art In Residency) at Modern Arts Project South Africa in May 2021 and was recently selected for the 2021 Collection of the Artist Solidarity Assistance Project (ASAP), run by the Candice Berman Initiative. She is now represented by the Candice Berman Gallery.

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