Standard Bank Young Artists Award winners
Standard Bank Young Artists Award winners
THEMBA MBULI – DANCE
Choreographer, dancer and teacher, Themba Mbuli joined Zola Musical Drama, a youth club in Soweto, 15 years ago where he got involved with drama, music, poetry and dance. It was dance that drew him to Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) a few years later, where he received formal training.
After graduating with a certificate in performing arts in 2007, he has performed around the world with various companies as well as conceptualising a number of important new works – including the award-winning Dark City, which was inspired by the history of Johannesburg’s Constitutional Hill, once the Old Fort Prison.
Of his Young Artist win, Mbuli says,"Out of all the young South African Artists who are already doing innovative and groundbreaking works, I'm really humbled to be part of the few that are recognised with such a significant award".
SIYAVUYA MAKUZENI – JAZZ
Siyavuya Makuzeni is a trombone player, vocalist, lyricist and songwriter well known for her "uniquely experimental, edgy yet pure intonation". Born in 1982 in the Eastern Cape, Makuzeni grew up singing in the choir and playing recorder before picking up the trombone while at Sterling High School in East London.
"The influence of Xhosa music and jazz is the foundation of my musical beginnings, and has helped me to shape my own voice or individual expression," she said in an interview. Makuzeni’s genre-busting style is influenced by drum and bass, hip hop, traditional Xhosa music and electronica.
She uses vocal pedals to manipulate her voice, creating soundscapes and backing loops in her live performances. Makuzeni regularly collaborates with South African musical royalty, including Marcus Wyatt. They first met in Grahamstown when Makuzeni was a teenager and have collaborated regularly ever since.
AVIGAIL BUSHAKEVITZ – MUSIC
Born in Jerusalem in 1988, Avigail Bushakevitz’s family moved to South Africa when she was one. She began playing piano when she was five and the violin at eight. Her mother, Leonore, used to drive her the 400-odd kilometres from their home in George to Stellenbosch, and later Cape Town, for lessons with Professor Jack de Wet every fortnight.
Homeschooled so that she could keep up with the rigorous practice routine required by De Wet, Avigail registered for a Bachelor of Music with Unisa in 2006, and received a scholarship from the Ackerman Foundation to study at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York a year later. She has since performed – and won competitions – all round the world.
Now based in Germany, where she is a member of the Essenz Streichquartett in Berlin and the 1st violins of the Konzerthausorchester, she often returns to South Africa to give recitals, usually with her brother, Ammiel.
JADE BOWERS – THEATRE
Born in Cape Town in 1987, Jade Bowers is a director and designer who experiments with physical style and conceptual form to make theatre that is fuelled by invention and creativity.
She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Drama and Sociology from the University of Cape Town, and received her Honours degree in Theatre Design and Directing for the Stage from University of the Witwatersrand in 2014. Bowers, who runs her own production company, works at DALRO as a theatrical rights administrator, and was previously the resident stage manager at the University of Johannesburg.
She has been recognised for her ability to revisit South African texts in an inventive yet deeply respectful way. Her beautiful and compelling reworking of Rehane Abrahams’s script, "What the Water Gave Me", earned a Silver Ovation Award at the 2014 National Arts Festival, as well as a Naledi Award nomination in 2015.
MOHAU MODISAKENG – VISUAL ART
Mohau Modisakeng is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily as a sculptor who moves into performance, film, installation and large-scale photographic prints as the concept requires. He was born in 1986, and grew up in Soweto. In 2009, he graduated from the Michealis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, and went on to complete his Masters in 2012.
"My work has always presented a channel for me to engage my mind and my spirit in something reflective and introspective," he told the Mail & Guardian when he was named as one of their Young South Africans to Watch in 2013. Modisakeng says his work is evolving towards the theatrical.
His work is in public collections including the Johannesburg Art Gallery; the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town; Unisa in Pretoria; the Saatchi Gallery in London; as well as in significant collections such as Zeitz MOCAA and the New Church Collection in Cape Town.