An Exciting Line-up For the MTN New Contemporaries Arts Award 2010

As the excitement builds up towards the fifth MTN New Contemporaries Arts Award, the MTN SA Foundation is pleased to announce that the behind the scenes preparations are progressing at an exhilarating pace.


Under the leadership of respected curator Nontobeko Ntombela, the four finalists are hard at work to showcase their new artworks that will be presented to the public on Tuesday 14 September at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban.  As one of the younger generation of contemporary art specialists the young curator Ntombela brings to the role the requisite insight for selecting the four finalists, thereby determining the artistic direction of the competition.

“The search for the four nominees began early this year with a period of research, later leading to a 21-day national studio and gallery tour. This was a fascinating exploration of South African contemporary art, and an enriching way to experience South Africa’s diverse cultures and languages. My research and field trip culminated in the selection of Stuart Bird, Donna Kukama, Mohau Modisakeng and Kemang Wa Lehulere as the finalists for this year’s Award,” says Ntombela.

“Subsequent to that each artist has had five months to produce a body of work, which is soon to be installed at the KZNSA Gallery. The presentation of the work is articulated into a narrative framework of the ideas artists have grappled with.”

“I must admit that the curatorial undertaking and contextualisation of such an exhibition is a challenge, considering that the exhibition is already structured as a competition. Although broad in its selection criteria, its history as a corporate Award in the last ten years sets out predetermined structural expectations. My challenge was contextualising these constellations to form a meaningful cohesion without diluting the individual narratives in these bodies of work. Yet, the notion of “contemporary” suggests tracing a change and development from the establishment of the Award. So the exhibition’s context played a fundamental role in the way that I began unpacking and assembling this exhibition.  The ideas explored by the four nominees thus served as a conceptual starting point,” concluded Ntombela.

Says Eunice Maluleke; Head of MTN SA Foundation: “For ten years the MTN New Contemporaries Award has enjoyed an association with many inspiring artist, curators and commentators.  2010 is significant in that MTN through the platform of the MTN SA Foundation has invested ten years in showcasing the talent in contemporary art.  It is indeed an honor to have secured the talented and experienced Nontobeko Ntombela as Curator for this year’s award.”

“With the diverse and in-depth experience and expertise of the curator and judges, together with the talented nominees, the MTN New Contemporaries Award once again promises to be exciting, nail biting and controversial to the very end.”

“We are equally proud to have secured the following diverse line up of adjudicators for the 2010 awards”, concluded Maluleke.

The fifth MTN New Contemporaries Award exhibition shows at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban, in 2010.
Exhibition opens: 14 September 2010 at 6pm
Exhibition runs: 15 September – 9 October 2010