Archive: Issue No. 67, March 2003

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Alan Alborough

Alan Alborough
Standard Bank Young Artist 2000 touring exhibition
Installation view, Johannes Stegmann Gallery, January 2001

Alan Alborough

Alan Alborough
Split Decision [2002], 2002
Installation view, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg


First National Withdraws from the Vita Art Prize

The prestigious FNB Vita Art Prize is no more. According to Vicki Trehaeven, Business Unit Head: FNB Brand Communication Services, "From late 2001 FNB had been looking to consolidate its myriad cultural activities, under the auspices of Vita, into a few strategic focuses. In analysing the properties we had, we identified competitive space in the FNB Dance Umbrella, FNB Craft Now Exhibition, the FNB/Wits and FNB/UND Shakespeare Festivals and our involvement at the KKNK."

Since its inception the FNB Vita Art Prize has played a crucial role in recognising the work of maturing artists who have either graduated through or outgrown the other award schemes available in this country. The calibre of the recent winners is indicative of this, Jo Ractliffe winning in 1999, Terry Kurgan in 2000, Moshekwa Langa in 2001 and Alan Alborough winning what would appear to have been the final award, in 2002.

Writing about the 2002 FNB Vita Art Prize, former ArtThrob and current Art South Africa editor Sophie Perryer commented last year: "It can be argued that the FNB Vita has established its profile and reputation precisely because it has its finger on the pulse of contemporary art-making." While not as lucrative as Absa's L'Atelier, the FNB Vita Art Prize was always held in high regard by both participants and observers alike. For many it marked a highpoint on the contemporary art calendar.

Commenting further on FNB's decision, Vicki Trehaeven said: �Retiring from the Art Prize and Theatre Awards has not meant that FNB is less financially committed to the Arts, rather we are spending more on the projects we have elected to retain." For artists who might have hoped to enter the 2003 round of the prize, it would appear that for all intents and purposes the esteemed art prize is now defunct - unless an alternative corporate sponsor can save the day.

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