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Emma Smith Scholarship Award

Emma Smith Scholarship Award

Media statement by Francesca Verga: Curator at the Durban University of Technology’s Art Gallery

A sound overall body of work was what secured a victory for Durban University of Technology Fine Art student Nicolé Maurel in the 2012 Emma Smith Scholarship Award.

Maurel’s OrangeBlangeBlou. Wie is ons dan nou earned her R40 000 during last night’s 2012 Emma Smith Scholarship Award ceremony at the DUT City Campus. “Her overall body of work was very sound. Everyone who was there decided Nicolé has a lot going for her and we decided to support that. We want to see where her future work will lead her,” said Megan McFall, one of the judges.

Maurel said her work was a personal journey where she investigated her identity and heritage as an Afrikaaner. The work consisted of a series of 11 dolls with ceramic heads and embroided dresses. The dolls, which served as metaphors, are amputated to symbolize what she said is the dysfunctional (Afrikaaner) family and community shifting from the oppressed to the oppressor. “I was investigating South Africa’s past such as the Great Trek, the British Concentration Camps and the Boer War. As an Afrikaaner, I wanted to know who I am and where I come from. It’s interesting how history repeats itself. Afrikaaners were oppressed (British Concentration Camps) only to become the oppressor during apartheid. Apartheid is no more and Afrikaaners sit with an identity crisis,” said Maurel.

She said she would use her prize money to fund an exhibition with a group of women from Aberdeen in the Karoo. “I went to Arbedeen in 2010 to do a ceramics workshop with group of Coloured women. The area has 98 percent unemployment. The women are creative and that’s why I want to have an exhibition workshop with them. I want to bring them here so they can see the city, art galleries and just experience this environment,” she said.

Maurel also received an additional R500 after Arts and Design Faculty Dean Dr Kenneth Fhatuwani Netshiombo announced all finalists would receive R200 pocket money while the award winner would get R500 courtesy of his Faculty. This, Dr Netshiombo said, was because of the high quality of work.

DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Ahmed C. Bawa said there is a huge convergence between art and design, adding that he hoped the nominees would do great things in the future. He also urged the students to get their Masters degrees, saying the country needs to produce 6 000 PhDs a year, but is currently managing 1 200.

Note to Editors

The Emma Smith Scholarship Award was incepted in 1920 by Kwazulu-Natal sugar industry magnate Sir Charles Smith. Named after his mother, Smith’s endowment was made in appreciation of the work of visionary Art School Head John Adams.

Miss Elsie Currie was the first winner of the award. Dion Chang; South African corporate trend analyst and design consultant, photographer Angela Buckland and artists Deanne Donaldson and Ledelle Moe are some of the famous names who have also received the award.

While the original intention of the scholarship was to allow winners to go overseas to study, the award has been extended to include a variety of purposes or projects proposed by the candidates. These include community based workshops, further study in South Africa or the African continent and or solo exhibitions. The competition is open to students from the full range of design, visual and performing arts programmes offered at the institution. Members of the judging panel are drawn from leading practitioners in the various disciplines; nominated by heads of department.

Students are required to exhibit a body of work for adjudication. The candidates will also be required to be present at the time when the work is being viewed and be prepared to be interviewed. Once the participating candidates have been interviewed, the selection panel will decide on the award which will be announced at an awards ceremony.

For comment or more details please contact Francesca Verga – Curator at the DUT Art Gallery on 031 373 2207 or 082 720 7635.
Pics are available on request.

Issued by:
Sinegugu Ndlovu
Media Officer
Durban University of Technology
031 373 2845
sinegugunp@dut.ac.za