The inaugural Spier Contemporary in 2007/8 attracted over 2,500 submissions from across South Africa and featured 95 artists and 120 artworks in two national exhibitions, greatly enhancing the artistic careers of the artists concerned. 25,000 visitors saw the inaugural exhibition in Cape Town and Johannesburg during 2007/8.
All artists chosen for the 2007/8 exhibition were paid an artist’s fee of R3,000. In addition a series of career development awards, stemming from participation in the exhibition, were conferred. Seven award winners were offered the opportunity to structure their own career development plan -this took the form of a residency or some type of self-study opportunity, including an internship or the possibility of travel in order to research or collaborate with other artists, curators or institutions. These awards were worth R700,000 in total.
The Spier Contemporary 2007 Award Winners
- Abrie Fourie for his photographic works: Beverly Hills, Sunnyside, Pretoria 2007 and Changing Room, Hillcrest Swimming Pool, Pretoria 2007;
- Chuma Sopotela, Mwenya Kabwe and Kemang Wa Lehulere for their performance: U nyamo alunampumlo (The foot has no nose), a work that explores African urban centres, through a hybrid of theatrical forms including live-feed video and live performance work;
- Bettina Malcomess, Rene Holleman and Linda Stupart for their performance: Wrong Side of the River Tour, a walking tour of the Spier Estate which re-images real and fictional histories;
- Nina Barnett and Robyn Nesbitt for their video: Warcry, a challenging and thrilling look at the war cries of two Johannesburg schools;
- Andrew Putter for his video installation: Secretly I Will Love You More, based on three paintings in the Castle of Good Hope in which the portrait of Maria van Riebeek sings a Khoi Khoi lovesong-lullaby, celebrating her love for Krotoa, her adopted Khoi Khoi daughter; and
- Peter van Heerden for his performance: Flowers for My Flesh, which looks at the patriotism, dedication and resolve of African women.
The seventh award was conceived and designed as a peoples choice award. People attending the exhibition in Cape Town therefore voted for their favourite artist:
- Justin Fiske unanimously won the popular award for his installations: 14 kundalini and Firling.
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