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The Absa L’Atelier has profoundly impacted her career, opening doors to new opportunities, exhibitions, networking, and support.

Dr Adelheid Frackiewicz. Courtesy of Absa.

Dr Adelheid Frackiewicz is an esteemed artist and academic, currently serving as the academic Head of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of the Free State. Her remarkable journey in the art world includes notable achievements in the renowned Absa L’Atelier competition. Dr Frackiewicz has guided countless students in their artistic endeavours as a dedicated lecturer specialising in drawing and sculpture. Her profound knowledge and expertise earned her a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of the Free State, where she focused her research on the transformative power of dynamic thresholds in art. The Absa L’Atelier has profoundly impacted her career, opening doors to new opportunities, exhibitions, networking, and support. In 2021, she was honoured as one of the three Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors, solidifying her reputation as a highly accomplished artist.

How did being a winner in the Absa L’Atelier competition impact your career as an artist?

Winning the Absa L’Atelier has opened up many new opportunities for me. That includes being part of exhibitions all over the country, networking with stakeholders in my field, and applying for further opportunities with the backing of the Absa Award and the team. Since winning the Absa L’Atelier, I have been taken out of my comfort zone, but I have been especially supported and nurtured to excel and go further. This Award is not a one-time ‘occasion’ or event; it is a continuous support structure that allows the recipients to make the very best of opportunities over an extensive if not continuous, amount of time.

What advice would you give to new artists considering entering the Absa L’Atelier competition?

I entered the competition probably close to 10 times. Sometimes my work went through to be exhibited, sometimes not. My advice is to go ahead and apply and keep on applying, be determined. 

How did the prizes and opportunities the competition offered help you grow and develop as an artist?

Thus far, the mentorship program, which is part of the prize, has made a definite impact on my art practice. I was lucky enough to get an excellent South African artist – Paul Emmanuel – to be my mentor, and working with him just excellently blew my mind! The funding support to make art has also allowed me to push my art practice as a sculptor and an installation artist. I have also started selling work and receiving interest from potential buyers and art lovers worldwide.

What was your experience as an Absa L’Atelier Ambassador?

My experience has been nothing but fantastic! I love the travelling opportunities, meeting new people, eating fresh food, staying in hotels, and being driven around, and it’s all awesome. One of the most notable things has also been meeting and working with my two fellow Ambassadors. Our group of three is so diverse and interesting, and vibrant. I have learnt a great deal from them both and consider them friends, and I intend to continue working with them in the future. 

For more information, please visit the Absa L’Atelier and the Absa Art Hot Spot.

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