Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku

2021 Award Winner Announced

StateoftheART is pleased to announce the winner of the StateoftheART Gallery Award 2021.


The Award aims to champion contemporary art by emerging artists resident in South Africa, increasing exposure for their work, and encouraging further professional development opportunities. Entrants were asked to submit work to the theme ‘On The Brink: Visualising Climate Change’ and were challenged to engage with the reality of climate crisis and its impact within a South African context.


The 2021 Award recipient is Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku, who is currently studying towards his Masters in Design and Studio Art degree at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.  


The ten shortlisted finalists were selected from hundreds of entries by artists from across South Africa. Two works by each of the finalists went on show earlier this month for the final round of judging in a group exhibition. This year’s panel of esteemed judges are Ashraf Jamal, writer and art critic;  Strijdom van der Merwe, Africa’s foremost land artist;  Nadja Daehnke, Director of the Irma Stern Museum; Lucinda Jolly, arts lecturer, writer & academic - and Jennifer Reynolds, owner of StateoftheART.  


The Award Finalists exhibition reflects a broad range of media. As well as sand-cast ceramics by Mqeku, the show features the work of: Janet Ormond, Theophelus Rikhotsu, Rozelle Greyling, Tumelo Mphela, Kristen McClarty, Given Muronga , Mfundo Sizwe Ziphozonke Mngomezulu, Liesl Roos and Dominic de Villiers.  


The judges highly commended Janet Ormond and Theophelus Rikhotso whose artworks highlighted the talent, variety of mediums, and ideas in contemporary art practice.


As the winner of the 2021 Award, Mqeku receives a cash prize of R40 000 to support the development of new work, and a solo exhibition with StateoftheART Gallery in 2022.


Gallery owner Jennifer Reynolds said, “In its third year, the Gallery Award continues to raise the profile of contemporary artists working at the vanguard of their discipline. As the only artist in Africa with a ceramic studio dedicated to the use of sandcasting, Mqeku fully embodies the spirit of the Award.”


The Award Finalists exhibition concludes Saturday 30 October 2021. View the exhibition online here>>>


Read an Interview with Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku >>>