“Each year, we marvel and celebrate a new group of artists whose work demonstrates innovation and artistic excellence,” says National Arts Festival Artistic Director Ismail Mahomed. “These are artists who are courageously exploring new ways to shape or affirm our cultural experiences and identities. Their work inspires their peers. It enthrals our audiences. It revitalises the arts sector. Their incredible talents and creativity are the immense investments that we engage at the National Arts Festival to grow our arts economy.”

The winners of the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist Awards are:

  • Themba Mbuli for Dance;
  • Siya Makuzeni for Jazz;
  • Avigail Bushakevitz for Music;
  • Jade Bowers for Theatre; and
  • Mohau Modisakeng for Visual Art.

The strong partnership between the National Arts Festival and Standard Bank, which has sponsored the award since 1984, has helped develop South Africa’s cultural treasury that reflects the country’s artistic past as well as serves to inspire new generations of artists, performers and musicians.

“The value of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award goes beyond just celebrating five new talents,” says Mahomed. “The 31 years of identifying and nurturing Standard Bank Young Artists has given South Africa a rich cultural legacy with many of its earlier winners now being some of the leading cultural legends in our country.”

This year’s award winners join a celebrated roll call of honour that includes Sibongile Khumalo, William Kentridge, Kesivan Naidoo, Dada Masilo, Andrew Buckland, Helen Sebidi and many others. The number of artists who have received this accolade since its inception in 1981 now stands at 144.

“Providing an opportunity to exhibit and showcase one’s works to key audiences is a critical part of a sustainable development programme. We facilitate this by showcasing the artists at our sponsored and owned arts properties such as the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and the Standard Bank Gallery. We are proud of these trailblazers and look forward to working closely with them as they progress in their careers,” says Hazel Chimhandamba, head of Group Sponsorship at Standard Bank.

Winners from various artistic genres are selected by the National Arts Festival Committee, chaired by Brett Bailey. The winners receive a cash incentive, and are given support to develop and premiere new works that will be featured on the Main Programme of the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, which will run from Thursday, 30 June to Sunday 10 July 2016.

For more information, visit www.nationalartsfestival.co.za. Alternatively, connect with them on Facebook or on Twitter.