Artist walks away with first prize money

Motse beats almost 300 participants to bag Art Meet Science top award

Image: Motse

Afro-centric avant-garde artist Silas Motse emerged victorious in the Art Meet Science competition on Friday.

The competition that included 280 artists from all over Africa saw Motse, who lives in Tshiawelo, Soweto, walking away with the first prize money of $1,500 (almost R25,000).

The Art Meet Science award is an initiative of Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE) that is led by Dr Victoria Kasprowicz and Kim Darley Waddilove. The SANTHE project brought young African creatives together, where they submitted creative concepts representing their impressions of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Born and bred in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, the 36-year-old said: “I am excited but I have to be honest, it has not sunk in yet. But I know winning this award will beef up my profile and open international doors for me."

The former school teacher who resigned last year said he did not believe that he will win because of the approach he took on the subject and the number of artists who were involved.

“I have been entering many competitions and I was shocked when they responded. We had a virtual workshop explaining Covid-19 and they wanted us to interpret it in our own way. I did not want to focus on the wash your hands, wear a mask and social distancing narrative. I brought closer to home the challenges it brought to people. The Covid-19 exposed government flaws and poverty among black people. I guess judges loved my direct approach.”

SANTHE programme director Professor Thumbi Ndung’u said: “Coronavirus is now a global health emergency and sub-Saharan Africa, with its severe resources limitations, a unique burden of comorbidity and poor health infrastructure, is particularly vulnerable.”

Kasprowicz added: "We received very positive feedback from participants in this project, and many were very interested to take part in future projects combining art and science. The exhibition was also very popular with the general public with over 3,000 individuals voting for their favourite pieces of art in the online exhibition competition.”

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