The Absa L’Atelier awards has become a touchstone for the concerns consuming young people on the continent
Marguerite Kirsten, a fine artist from Cape Town, fought off stiff competition from visual artists from across Africa to take top honours in the 2018 Absa L’Atelier awards. Her compatriot, Philiswa Lila, a fine artist and scholar from the Eastern Cape (based in Gauteng) walked away with this year’s Gerard Sekoto Award.
Kirsten won the overall Absa L’Atelier Award for her installation Embodiment. Having grown up, and continuing to live, with various medical conditions, Kirsten feels her body has become an instrument of the medical fraternity. This work, comprising various fluids that represent the ephemeral nature of her body, sought to strengthen and dignify the artist’s physical body in the face of this perceived objectification.
Lila scooped the Gerard Sekoto Award for Self-Titled, a series of self-portraits related to her name, Philiswa, which means ‘be healed’. The artist used her name to explore the nuances of language, meaning and experiences of individualism as recognisable or familiar to collective frameworks of culture, mainly in isiXhosa.
The Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist is sponsored by the French Embassy, Alliance Franciase and French Institute. It is only available to a South African artist who has previously entered the L’Atelier Awards and who has demonstrated continual improvement in their art-making.
The three Merit Awards winners this year were Gillian Abe of Uganda (Seat of Honour), Henry Obeng of Ghana (Recycle Frame 2) and Kirsten Eksteen of South Africa (Patterns and Pattern Body) respectively.
These three artists, along with overall winner Marguerite Kirsten, Carli Bassin (SA) (Shaped), Lemmeze Davids (SA) (Thank you for my lunch), Christiaan Kritzinger (SA) (Meltdown: new aesthetics in old landscapes), Ayo Akinwande (Nigeria) (Shrine), Lodewyk Barkhuizen (SA) (Hat disguised as map), and Sikelele Damane (SA) (Toyi, Toyi, Act 1) were selected as the Top 10 finalists for 2018.
The Absa L’Atelier awards has become a touchstone for the concerns consuming young people on the continent. Works referencing hair styles as a form of expression, identity and a site of contestation were prominent in previous years and remained important to a number of this year’s entrants, such as Nonkululeko Sibande, Lebohang Motaung (both from South Africa) and Darlyne Komukama (Uganda).
Some artworks offered insights into the particular conditions and contexts from the artist’s countries of origin – constant power outages in Lagos, Nigeria, accounted for the unexpected metaphor between electricity generators and religious shrines by Ayo Akinwande, for example. Pressing political issues regarding land ownership in South Africa surfaced in works by Vianca Malan, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Karla Nixon and Ciara Struwig, while forced removals and land ownership were mirrored in Bya’bazzukulu (For Grandchildren) by Donald Wasswa.
Challenging fixed gender roles was again a prominent theme, as seen in the work of Mzoxolo Mayongo and Matimu Lloyd Maluleke. These artworks affirm not only the dominance of sociopolitical discourse, but the artists’ perceptions that contemporary practice is irretrievably tied to addressing them.
Absa L’Atelier has been shining a light on promising young African artists’ work for over 33 years. Not only do the awards identify bright young talent but they provide a solid foundation for the further growth of these artist’s potential, giving them the opportunity to step into the spotlight on the world stage.
By highlighting the work of new artists from the African continent, Absa L’Atelier proves that they are committed to taking work from where it may have been unknown, in the dark, and presenting it to a global audience – bringing it to light. This essence reflects the 2019 L’Atelier theme, Give Art Light, which was unveiled at the Awards’ gala evening on Wednesday, 12 September 2018.
Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa Art and Museum Curator, says this idea is also in line with the ethos of Absa’s new Africanacity identity. “Bringing to light the best art on the continent, lighting up the careers of artists from all over Africa, putting the spotlight firmly on African artists for more than three decades, and investing in Africa’s creative economy for this length of time, all represent the spirit of Africanacity. These are the physical manifestations of the inspirational Africanacity idea in action,” he says.
The Absa L’Atelier art competition is jointly sponsored by Absa and the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), and is one of the longest-running and most prestigious visual arts competitions on the African continent. It was established in South Africa 33 years ago, but in recent years has been expanded to include a number of other African countries in order to reach more young artists and further the unparalleled opportunities it affords those who participate in the competition.
“The L’Atelier Awards embrace emerging artists from our continent. This competition has become the voice and lens through which we experience and access various societies, and has rendered the borders between our country and the rest of Africa, porous,” says Avitha Sooful, president of SANAVA.
This year was the first time that the awards were extended to include Nigeria and Namibia. The newcomers really shone, with a vast number of outstanding pieces catching the eye of the adjudicators, who appreciated their interpretation of ‘the contemporary’ with the African visual art context.
A total of 12 countries now participate in the competition which, aside from Nigeria and Namibia, include South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles and Mozambique.
I draw my inspiration for jokes from the bible – Stainless
Comedy is a professional entertainment consisting of jokes with an intention to make an audience laugh, In this interview, Standup comedian, Stainless tells our correspondent Ere-ebi AGEDAH that the business of making people laugh is a very serious business
Brief introduction of yourself
My name is Stainless Ikechukwu Precious Nwaokike… Aka Russia machine an indigene of IMO state, Oru local government in omuma. I was born in Lagos, grew up in Lagos, had my primary education in Lagos, secondary school in Abuja, and graduated from Imo state, I am a true Nigerian.
I am a standup comedian, master of ceremony, events manager, events consultant and a successful Entertainer with 14years working experience. I was in Russia during the just concluded FIFA world cup 2018 where I performance at the Russia AMAC night in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
I will say a part of it came from my father while the other part is my passion, my Father was a philanthropist and a very funny man when we are very small he would make me and my siblings laugh a lot. As I grew older, during my days in school, I discovered that I love making people around me happy so I knew that this was what I wanted to do, those who have worked with me can testify.
Tell us about the secret of your success
First and foremost, I am a church boy who knows that without the ogapatapata up there you can do nothing, Am one of the oldest, intelligent, influential, well traveled, strong and successful comedian in Abuja and have performed with all the biggest comedians in Nigeria and outside the shores of Nigeria yet very humble.
I take my time to read, yes I read a lot, and watch the news. Also I do my researchers on current happenings, before I come on stage, I study my audience to know what they will like and what they will not like so that I do not commit a blunder on stage, because for every time you stand on stage before an audience, you are creating a market for your next big client.
What inspires your jokes
I just say my prayers and work with what I see while am on stage with some startups joke to buy the audience attention’s but let me add that I draw inspiration for my jokes from the bible, that is to say I do not come on stage with written or crammed jokes, it will not work .
My church is another place that helps to inspire my jokes because my pastor is funny and highly learned, at the garage, restaurant and as I discuss with friends and families, everything around me works together to give an electrifying and interesting time on stage.
Who are your Influencers or Role Models
Bigmouth who is now a pastor encouraged and carried me along while I was growing up in the business, Alibaba, basketmouth, AY, and Okey bakassi.
Your opinion of Abuja Entertainment Industry
The FCT is a growing market, we are growing with speed and I can say that Abuja is still a virgin land yet on tapped but we are taking over very soon. Let me add that our major challenge is that the big companies are yet to endorse Abuja’s finest comedians or entertainer’s.
Most companies in Abuja are yet believe in us and support us but thank God for FIRS and others who have been supporting all our shows we are hopeful that it will get better and bigger.
Any bad day on stage
That was years back when I was yet to understudy the industry and the act of making people laugh well. Everyone has a bad day, some persons are weighed down by the economy, some emotional issues, others, money wahala and they are not willing to laugh.
In all we have learnt to step on the bad days and move on quickly to the better days ahead.
Message for the upcoming
The place of passion cannot be over emphasized, you must have the Passion and learn from those ahead of you so you don’t commit political, social and religious blunder.
You must be very intelligent; this will keep you confident when standing in front of your audience, do your research if you really have passion for comedy and want to last in the business of making people laugh.
For the new bees, you must maintain the attitude that comedy is an easy job but a very serious business that can be used to educate, teach, correct social vices. You are a role model and must always act as one, be a responsible citizen wherever you find yourself and ensure that you seek all avenues to make people happy which is the major priority, and then you can make a living from it as it is very lucrative. Once your time comes and if you work with the right people ahead of you but the ogapatapata of them all is to connect to God for divine provision and protections.
As an African and a 100% Ibo boy, I love beans and plantain, Akpu and native soups.
Black and white
Philosophy of life
Appear the way you want to be addressed; my appearance is my name Stainless
Handsome boys like us na dem dey rush us
African tour with Sen. Stainless Precious, coming soon and my show in Nigeria –(Comedy traffic with Stainless Precious 2018).
Sheraton Lagos Hotel set to Enthrall the City with Living Legend Femi Kuti Live Concert
By Abdullahi Mohammed
Partners with Media and Entertainment company Chocolate City Group to Create Exclusive Access and A Once-In-A-Lifetime Afro Beat Jazz Experience for Loyalty Program Members
Sheraton Lagos Hotel will host the living legend Femi Kuti live in concert, on 22nd September, 2018. Curated in partnership with media and entertainment company Chocolate City Group, the critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and four-time Grammy Award nominee, is set to enthrall music lovers, Afrobeat enthusiasts and members of Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), with an exclusive live performance of his seventh studio album, One People One World.
Marriott International has been focused on stepping up its experiences game, creating exclusive Moments that help connect with members through their passions, be it culinary, music or sport. From Masterclasses with renowned chefs, mixologists, DJs and photographers to behind the scenes access to concerts, to experiences around your favorite sport or an immersive experience of the local cuisine or culture, there is a lot to explore and discover what makes travel more enriching.
“We are committed to creating unforgettable moments for our loyal members, and what better way to do that than to connect with them through their passions,” said Neal Jones Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “This is an opportunity for us to engage with our loyal members and build a strong emotional connection with them by creating a once-in-a lifetime experience while amplifying the benefits of our Loyalty Programs. Through this very special experience created by Sheraton Lagos Hotel, we want our members to carry back a memory that ties back to the destination and our brand.”
“Chocolate City is happy to collaborate with Marriot International and Sheraton Lagos to give its guests and Marriott International loyalty members an exclusive live music experience with its artist and Afrobeat legend Femi Kuti. His music and brand embody Africa’s rich culture and we have tried to replicate that in the set up, management and curation of the event. We expect guests to remember the event for the energy and excitement that Femi’s music brings” said Edward Israel-Ayide, Senior Marketing Manager Chocolate City Group.
Members can redeem their points for an experience package on the Moments platform which includes the following
Front row seats and access to special viewing area at the Femi Kuti concert at Sheraton Lagos
Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres during the concert
VIP backstage passes
Exclusive breakfast with Femi Kuti at the Club Lounge at Sheraton Lagos Hotel on 23rd September, 2018 with a photo opportunity with Femi Kuti.
A one-night stay in the Sheraton Club Room for two people at the iconic Sheraton Lagos
A goody bag and a bounce-back F&B voucher
To secure your experience, please visit : www.Moments.Marriottrewards.com/item/vip-concert-breakfast-and.
“As a city landmark hotel and a hotspot for the local community as well as the international traveler to Nigeria, we are excited to bring this concert to the hotel and create transformative moments for our guests and loyalty program members, through the reverberating rhythm of Afrobeat” said Barry Curran General Manager Sheraton Lagos Hotel.
In addition to Femi Kuti there will be performances from five other popular artists. Invited guests and loyalty members will be treated to an eclectic selection of expertly crafted cocktails and finger favorites.
Abuja hospitality business to experience a thrilling revamp
…as Grand Pela launches International event center
By Ere-ebi Agedah
The Chairman and Chief Executive, Grand Pela Hotel and Suites, Chief Peter Chukwudi Nwakeze has revealed that the hotel is set to completely revamp the Abuja experience of hospitality business as it is ready to launch its new multi million naira international events and conference center.
Nwakeze disclosed this while speaking to journalist in Abuja, noting that the Durumi, located event center hotel, promises to take Nigeria’s hotel and hospitality industry to greater heights.
According to Nwakeze, the facility has embraced fresh perspective in its quest to be the leading hotel of choice in Nigeria and beyond. Adding that it will equally provide expertise management training of international standard to hotels across Nigeria in order to expand the industry in Nigeria and bring it up to speed in line with global best standards.
Nwakeze who noted that the multi million naira events and conference was designed and built with the utmost comfort of guests and visitors in mind, stated that the group has gone to great length to ensure that the events and conference center changes the landscape and experience of major events hosting in the FCT.
According to him, Grand Pela Hotels and Suites will continue to provide proactive approach to hotel management, property openings, and upgrading of existing properties, with the specific needs of all stakeholders, particularly guests and visitors in mind.
The chairman who explained further that the facilities and luxury available at Grand Pela Hotels and Suites can be comparable to anywhere in the world, stressed that the hotel’s newly built events and conference center has a sitting capacity of over 2000 people, which will drastically change the face of hospitality industry in the FCT and in the country at large.
“We want to carve a niche in the hospitality business that will leave a lasting and unmatched experience in our customers, the FCT has a lot of visitors coming in and moving out every day for board meetings, cooperate events and the likes. At Grand pale we want to provide that enabling environment which will be a home away from home ” he explained.
Also speaking was, General Manager, Mr. Peter Swanepoel, who said that Grand Pela Hotel and Suite is strategically located in the Federal Capital City, and can compete and surpass any other in the world. He said the world class facilities are available for the comfort of guests and for the development of the industry in Nigeria.
According to him, the management has massively invested to ensure that the comfort and luxury of guest at the hotel remains paramount, because the hotel consciously made a paradigm shift by adding new unique features which represents the chairman’s core values of excellence and professionalism in order to change the old perception of Abuja hotels by tourists and visitors.
“Grand Pela Hotels and Suites brand is synonymous with creativity and excellence, these new features will be observed as you inspect our facilities and rooms. The hotel is prepared and offering unique and exceptional services that are consistent and inspiring. It remains the most sorts after hotel in Abuja”, he said.
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