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The 23rd instalment of one of South Africa’s oldest national fine arts awards which remains the country’s premier contemporary fine arts events is set to hit another trajectory. The annual national Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards (TMFAA) hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni will this year coincide with the municipality’s celebration of the life of resistance artist Thami Mnyele in September. From this year onwards the competition will run between August/September instead of the traditional May/June months. Entries for the 2011 leg of the fine arts awards will therefore open in August and artists are encouraged to prepare their best pioneering works for this year’s competition. Presented by the City of Ekurhuleni, the TMFAA is a contemporary fine art competition which caters for artists of all ages, from all over South Africa, producing various media of art works. The total prize money up for grabs is R70 000, with R30 000 of that going to the first prize winner. Other categories include the Multi & New Media, Painting, Art on Paper and Sculpture. Merit awards are presented to winners in each of these categories, plus the overall first prize and a special Ekurhuleni prize – this is awarded to the best work submitted by an artist who hails from this region. Initially named the Ekurhuleni National Fine Arts Awards, the City moved to have them renamed after the acclaimed resistance artist who gave a voice to the nation through his talent during the struggle for liberation. According to Thamsanqa “Thami” Mnyele: “Art must become a process – a living, growing thing that people can relate, identify with, be part of, understand; not a mysterious world a universe apart from them.” It is that ideal which inspired the City of Ekurhuleni to initiate a competition of this nature that serves as a platform where artists are encouraged to transcend limitations, reconfigure and manipulate contemporary cultural, social and political signs. “It is the duty of dedicated artists to employ various media to express metaphors, and their aesthetic sensibility to reflect the world we live in,” says Zweli Dlamini, spokesperson of the Metro. “We therefore encourage those with the skill to stand before their easels and pick up their chisels to take up the challenge.” In the past three years the annual national Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards have seen over 1000 entries from artist across South Africa. Works may be entered on the 23, 24 and 25 August 2011 between 09:00 – 19:00 at the Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Mooifontein Road, Birchleigh North Kempton Park. Satellite entry points are available at Boksburg Library, the Springs Art Gallery and Katlehong Art Centre. The non refundable entry fee is R50 per artwork. The following prizes will be awarded:. First Prize R 30 000.00 . Ekurhuleni Prize R 20 000.00 . Multi & New Media Merit Award R 5 000.00 . Painting Merit Award R 5 000.00. Art on Paper Merit Award R 5 000.00. Sculpture Merit Award R 5 000.00 The adjudicators for the 2011 Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards competition are Angel Le Roux, Khwezi Gule, Gwenneth Miller, John V Mfuphi and Sipho Mdanda. All artworks must be ready and suitable for exhibition. The judges will select an exhibition of the best works. The works of art must have been completed in the 12 months prior to the competition. The opening function of the Exhibition and Prize Giving Ceremony will take place on 24 September 2011 at the Coen Scholz Recreation Centre in Kempton Park. For more information please contact the Visual Arts Curator on 011 391 4006/7 or 011 391 6273), e-mail or . The exhibition of the top works will run from 24 September to 16 October 2011.

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