Excitement over top art contest

THERE is understandably excitement and an air of expectation among visual artists as Africa's pre-eminent annual art competition, the Absa L'Atelier Art Awards, enters its 25th year in 2010.

THERE is understandably excitement and an air of expectation among visual artists as Africa's pre-eminent annual art competition, the Absa L'Atelier Art Awards, enters its 25th year in 2010.

During this time it has also earned a reputation for being the most valuable competition of its kind, not only because of the significant prize bounty it offers, but also for the incredible exposure it affords its finalists and winners.

The award comes with a R110000 cash prize and a six-month sabbatical at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France, courtesy of financial services group Absa.

A second prize to the value of R80000 is awarded for the most promising artist with an income of less than R60000 a year, comprising a three-month sabbatical at the Cité, French language classes and nationwide touring exhibitions sponsored by the French Embassy, French Institute and the Alliance Française.

Both top prizes include airfare and free access to galleries and museums in Paris, giving young artists the opportunity to develop their talents and gain exposure to the international art community.

Regional judging in the 2010 edition of the competition is currently under way and about 100 works from the pool of entries will be selected as finalists. The overall winner will be announced at a gala exhibition in Johannesburg on July 21.

Four runner-ups will each pocket R25000 and the top 10 finalists will each receive a R2000 bonus prize.

Members of the public can view the competition entries at various selected galleries throughout the country starting tomorrow.

X