Competition Winners

Overall Winner

Neo Theku

I am a graphic designer, illustrator and photographer from Bloemfontein.  I am a third year student at the Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein.  I love learning new things, I learn from reading books, and how people live.  I spend a lot of time designing. I create work that the youth can relate to and I want to use my work to help change lives and to teach people about challenges that introverts face every day.

My friends and I usually host outdoor exhibitions on campus fields where we educate other students about art. Most of my works are found on social media.  I participate in art competitions and looking for opportunities where I can use my artworks.  I don’t usually interact with people, so I use my work to communicate with others.

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Runner Up Winner

Kay Fourie

Born in the Orange Free State, I am based firmly with one foot in the Karoo and the other in Bloemfontein.

I received my BA Honours degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Free State in 1987, majoring in sculpture.  Here I was greatly influenced by Ben Botma and Janine Allan-Spies whose work and modus operandi still have a major influence on my artmaking.

After graduating and until 2012, I worked in sculpture, using cement, clay and found materials.  From 2012, my making processes were further influenced through attending various workshops, and at present I create mainly drawings and prints.

Workshops given by Emma Willemse, investigating the concept of haptic visuality, enlarged my thinking around my local environment.  This led to an interest in exhibiting collaboratively with other artists in projects which explore issues specific to the Karoo.  One example was the exhibition Berge, shown in Nieu-Bethesda during 2012 Fugard Festival; and another was my ongoing participation in Karoo52, an anti-fracking traveling exhibition organised and curated by Katie Barnard du Toit during 2013 and 2015, which travelled to art festivals around South Africa.

My current creative work continues to reflect my concerns for the Karoo.

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Merit Award

Bokang Nkejane

Born in Ficksburg in 1994. I believe I went to relatively good schools. I’ve liked creative work for as long as I can remember. In fact, nothing outside of family, in the last five years has caused me more happiness, but also stress, than my pursuit of art.

I'm currently studying for an art diploma at the Central University of Technology. 

I am a Christian. I enjoy reading. I like self-development material. I meditate regularly. Some other hobbies that I maintain are swimming, running, writing and going out with friends. I recently joined the gym and I’m loving it. It’s made me realise that one can think that they’ve reached a certain capacity of love but then surprisingly finding out that they’re capable of so much more. What can I say? I am passionate about life.

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Merit Award

Miné Kleynhans

Miné Kleynhans is a young emerging artist and creative professional residing in Bloemfontein.  As an artist, art project manager and facilitator, Miné participated in various developmental and often large scale international creative programs.  Most notably she participated as a lead artist in collaboration with Alex Rinsler in the It’s My City project ( during the Vrystaat Arts Festival in 2016.  She has also recently returned from an artist residency at Bashnar Creative project, Macedonia, Eastern Europe.

In her studio practice, Miné is dedicated to the innate mysticism of uncovering meaningful (or meaningless?) connections between the arbitrary jumble that presents itself as ‘everyday life’. Consequently, her artworks are often imaginative, playful attempts to convey or typify perceived societal narratives, patterns of emotions, shared dispositions and social inclinations.  They employ humour and satire to tease out the rich intersections between magical thinking, ritual, religion, consumer, culture, personal and collective fantasies and game playing.  Her medium and artistic techniques vary greatly (hosepipe, ceramic, wood, wood carving and digital drawing) and she is as interested in tactile sensations as visual impressions.

Miné Kleynhans is currently employed at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery at the University of the Free State where she oversees the execution of exciting experimental artistic ventures in partnership with the Vrystaat Arst Festival.

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Public Choice Award

Bongani Tshabalala

I am 23 years old and am studying Mechanical Engineering at the Central University of Technology. 

I am very passionate about art, fashion and photography. My love for photography began in 2017 using my phone, then I bought my first DSRL camera. Growing up I have always known that I was creative, but didn’t know how to express it. I wanted to be a fashion designer but I didn’t know that I had to hone the skill of drawing/sketching, therefore I couldn’t pursue it because I was really bad at drawing. 

I later found my path of telling stories that inspire, educate and empower people. I love what I do because it gives me freedom to express myself and for my voice to be heard in the creative industry.

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Colbert Mashile

Born in Bushbuckridge, Colbert Mashile is a renowned painter and visual artist from Johannesburg, who has developed a unique iconographical language within South African art, often dealing with the mystical, mythological and archaic elements of traditional African culture and its legacy in today’s world. He has had his work exhibited all over the world in among others France, Italy, the Netherlands and the USA. His artworks also form part of public and private collections such as that of The South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Mandela Foundation, De Beers and Sasol.

Thabo Seshoka

Thabo is a Specialist Curator at the Absa Art Gallery responsible for the day to day operations, curation and stakeholder engagement of the Gallery. The Absa Gallery has a presence in 12 African countries through the Absa L’Atelier Art Competition. While co-curating and caring for one of the largest corporate art collections globally, his present achievements also include being appointed acting-Chief Curator and Head of Museum Africa. Thabo is the youngest Corporate Art Curator in South Africa. He is presently reading towards a Business Degree at the Henley Business School and hopes to continue with his PhD studies at Rhodes University in 2020.

Nonto Sheryl Msomi

Nonto Sheryl Msomi is the Project Manager for the Art Bank of South Africa. Nonto hails from KZN where she graduated from the Durban University of Technology with qualifications in Fine Arts and Logistics Management. She has extensive experience in the art world having worked as a curator and educational resource developer at the Amazwi Abesifazane Museum, visual arts coordinator, curator and facilitator at the BAT Centre Trust, the KZN regional coordinator of Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA). She also took on the roles of coordinating the Global Village, Youth Programme, and the Cultural Activities for the International AIDS Society.

Karen Brusch

Karen Brusch has been passionate about the arts industry for over twenty five years, having worked in creative spaces all her life - from advertising and education, to feature film and documentaries. Brusch worked as Manager of Gallery MOMO and was promoted to Director of MOMO Johannesburg some 6 years later. During her ten years at Gallery MOMO, Karen managed the careers of numerous international artists such as Mary Sibande, Ayana V. Jackson, Blessing Ngobeni, Florine Demosthene, Andrew Tshabangu, Roger Ballen, among others.  Karen has also run large-scale projects both nationally and internationally such as Art Fairs, Museum and Gallery Exhibitions, as well as Art and Jazz Festivals. Following a year-long sabbatical, Karen recently set up the Free State Art Collective with the intention of creating visibility and opportunities nationwide for Visual Artists from the Free State.