Sasol New Signatures Competition Past Winner Profiles: Musha Neluheni

Hugely talented, highly competitive and touchingly emotional is the definition of a passionate artist. However, getting into the art industry is somewhat difficult and in some cases, it takes emerging artists years to get noticed.

Accordingto 28-year-old Musha Neluheni, “One has to have patience and keep at it.Entering the Sasol New Signatures Competition was the added advantage I neededto get noticed as it was an excellent medium for me to showcase my work on anational scale. Whether or not I got placed in the competition, it was anopportunity to gain exposure through participating,” says Neluheni who won aMerit Award in 2005 and an Acknowledgement award in the 2006 Sasol New SignaturesCompetition. Sasol New Signatures is an annual art competition that isone of the longest running and most prestigious in South Africa. Thecompetition offers emerging artists a platform to showcase their passion,capability and creativity. Neluheni believes that winning a merit award whilst studyingwas a great stepping stone for her before she actually started her career as anartist. This medium of exposure led to her first job in the curating field. Shebelieves that finding a gallery to exhibit her art would have been a dauntingand almost impossible task but due to the recognition from the Sasolcompetition, she secured many exhibitions. Artists are seen as social commentators and Neluheni addsthat artists are constantly reflecting on the social aspects of their lives.She believes that there are currently no clear trends in art production atpresent , which has allowed artists the freedom to follow any medium and technique that they want to. “Personally,I work from my own experiences, my place in my family and in society at large.It is a personal starting point for me,” she adds. Neluheni studied printmaking and most of her pieces arecentered around graphic media such as drawing and etching. Her current work isfocused on the material medium of fabric and stitching. “The concept of thework must be strong, but the also work needs to be well executed,” commentsNeluheni. Born and raised in Johannesburg, Neluheni is a full timeEducation Officer at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Her art pieces have beenexhibited at various galleries including, Gordart Gallery, Artspace Gallery, UJArt Gallery, Sasol Art Museum and North-West University Gallery. Neluheni encourages up and coming artists to enter thecompetition, “You have nothing to lose and if you don’t get in, learn from itand try again. It is a great opportunity and a way to present your work in apublic domain”.