Friday, November 6, 2009

Award Season Ahoy!

The visual arts community have done well this week pulling in a number of awards; aside from MacGarry’s win David Goldblatt was honoured yesterday with an Arts and Culture Trust (ACT) Lifetime Award for the Visual Arts and Paul Emmanuel won the Africa-In-Motion Short Film Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. I am particularly thrilled about Emmanuel scooping an award for his 3 SAI A Rite of Passage film, which was part of his Transitions exhibition. As I observed when I first saw the film; he is one of a small handful of artists who actually takes the film medium seriously. Here is what I wrote about his film earlier this year:

It wasn't the typical setting for a film preview. With an array of garden, lounge and dining chairs lined up in front of a white wall that would function as the screen, Paul Emmanuel had created a makeshift cinema in his loft apartment in Milpark for the screening of 3 SAI A Rite of Passage, which is part of his Transitions exhibition at the Apartheid Museum. Haunted by the Hansie movie preview, the small clutch of arts journalists gathered in Emmanuel's loft apartment looked apprehensive. It also didn't help knowing that the discipline of film is a completely new avenue for Emmanuel. He is a fine artist by trade, and though he has five solo exhibitions under his belt, he is not known as a video artist. Video art has experienced a bit of a revival on the South African art scene. The Spier Contemporary Award exhibition earlier this year boasted quite an array of video artworks and the exhibition that Simon Njami curated for the Jo'burg Art Fair, called As You Like It, was dominated by video art. In fact almost every important exhibition of late has featured a video artwork.