Archive: Issue No. 74, October 2003

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The Vuleka competition
by Paul Edmunds

Previously known as the 'New Signatures' and still sponsored by Sanlam, the Vuleka competition has been running in its current form for several years. The competition is open to artists of any age who have not yet held one-person exhibitions. Modest cash prizes are offered in a number of categories and an overall winner is also declared. The latter receives, along with their cash, a return air ticket to Paris. While this may seem like a poor country cousin to the ABSA l'Atelier competition, it is still not be scoffed at.

This year was unusual in that the overall winner was also tops in a number of other categories. Jennifer Lovemore Reed won awards in Sculpture and Photography and took top honours with another photographic work. All of Me, the winning piece, comprises a horizontally displayed board on which she has fixed small jewel cases, each of which contains a cropped photograph. Each captures different areas of the artist's prone and naked body. They are configured to produce a near-lifesize portrait. The work muses succinctly on the complexity of identity and self.

Other standout works include a series of small paintings by prizewinner Gregory Meager. The diminutive canvases invoke the dark Expressionist works of Nolde, tainted here with a bit of drunkenness and lechery.

Although this is a fairly low profile award it can serve as an important stepping stone for a young artist. Previous winner, Inge du Plessis, had a painting selected for the Brett Kebble Award exhibition. As for Lovemore Reed, why she has not yet held a one-person show is a mystery to me.

October 8 - 30


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