Some of South Africa's most celebrated artists were born in the region of Middelburg in Mpumalanga and this has inspired the Middelburg Mall to help continue the region's rich artistic tradition. The mall's "My Middelburg, My Region" art competition offers aspiring artists the chance to win great prizes and have their artwork displayed in the mall.
"The competition encourages creativity and artistic talent. Our winners could even go on to enjoy distinguished artistic careers and take the world by storm, like other famous artists from our community," says centre manager, Mike Tammadge.
Middelburg residents don't have to look far to find fine examples of local art admired on the national and global stage. Especially with internationally acclaimed artists like Ester Mahlangu and the late Gerard Sekoto who trace their roots to the region.
Born in Botshabelo in 1913, Sekoto is renowned and respected for his two-dimensional art. Sekoto was applauded as our first great African impressionist in 1978 for his 'Homage to Steve Biko'. Before his death in 1993 this world-acclaimed artist, from humble beginnings in the Middelburg region, exhibited in London, Belgium, Holland, Paris, New York and Venice, among others, as well as in South Africa.
Exhibited around the world
Sekoto famously said: "Art is the spark, the illumination which is socially significant for it brings about understanding." There is no finer example of this than Esther Mahlangu. Born in 1935 on a farm near Middelburg, her grandmother and mother taught her the Ndebele craft of house decoration when she was a girl of ten. Little did they know these lessons would eventually take her around the world to exhibit with many international artists and put the Ndebele artistic tradition in the global spotlight.
Mahlangu pioneered and promotes traditional African techniques in contemporary art. The BMW she painted in the Ndebele style in 1991 remains a prime exhibit in the BMW Art Cars Collection in Germany, alongside others by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Mahlangu, now 77, spends time between international exhibitions and her Ndebele decorated home in Mabhoko which attracts visitors from around the globe.
The competition is open to everyone, no matter of age or artistic experience. Original art can come in any shape, size or colour, and the closing date for entries is 17 July 2012. Judges will choose a winning art piece from each category - painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and anything goes.
The winner of the sculpture category will get the chance to recreate their winning piece into a sculpture installation for Middelburg Mall with steel supplied by Columbus Steel. There are other great prizes up for grabs, including a R5 000 camera from Foto First, canvases to the value of R7 500 from Alettza Arts, a weekend away at Olifants River Lodge valued at R2 600, R500 of photograph printing from Foto Fanatix and R500 of art books from Bargain Books.
New prizes are added regularly, so visit middelburgmall.co.za or its Facebook page for the latest information, and details on how to enter.
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