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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor


Creative tour de force: Standard Bank Young Artists at the National Arts Festival [VIDEO]

Take a look at what magic the 2023 Standard Bank Young Artist award winners are bringing to the National Arts Festival this month.


The 2023 Standard Bank Young Artist  (SBYA) Award winners are set to premiere their brand new creations on the Main Programme of the 50th National Arts Festival (NAF), taking place in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) from 20 to 30 June 2024.

For more than three decades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award has remained one of South Africa’s most important and highly respected platforms for the development of the arts.

Standard Bank Young Artists: Roll of honour

The roll of honour includes legendary creatives and performers, such as Johnny Clegg, William Kentridge, Brett Bailey, Richard E Grant, Nduduzo Makhathini, Sibongile Khumalo and Bonnie Ntshalintshali.

Johnny clegg singer standard bank young artist award winner
In this file photo, the late Johnny Clegg celebrates 30 years as a musician in Johannesburg on 6 November 2010. Picture: Gallo Images/Sunday World/Tsheko Kabasia

Selected by the NAF Artistic Committee, recipients of this esteemed accolade receive a cash prize, as well as a production budget to create and present their work at the arts festival.

WATCH: 2023 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners

Standard Bank Young Artists at the National Arts Festival

Ready to meet 2023’s six Standard Bank Young Artists and their festival productions? Take a look…

Stephané Conradie: Visual Arts

Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Visual Art, Stephané Edith Conradie
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Visual Art, Stephané Conradie. Picture: SBYA

While primarily trained as a printmaker, the 32-year-old Stephané Conradie is known for her bricolage assemblages.

Her work sits in permanent collections such as the Leridon Collection, France; Wits Art Museum Collection; UNISA Art Gallery; Spier Collection, South Africa and GAUTREAUX Collection, Cansas P.O.C Galila Barzilaï-Hollander, Belgium.

Conradie’s exhibition at the National Arts Festival as Standard Bank Young Artist, Wegwysers deur die Blinkuur, poses the question:

What happens when the next creole generation does not accept their parents’ material culture as inalienable?

Darren English: Jazz

Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, Darren English
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz, Darren English. Picture: SBYA

Multi-instrumentalist Darren English recently won his second Global Peace Song Award (GPSA) in Los Angeles for Requiem in Peace.

The 32-year-old jazz virtuoso’s star has risen in South Africa, Europe and the United States, where he has spent an extended period studying, performing and recording with artists that reflect a wide range of music styles.

English’s National Arts Festival presentation, The Birth,  comprises all original material.

The Birth which was originally a title for a composition on his debut album, Imagine Nation, has since been broadened into a larger work/s, including collaborations with musicians in the US, Europe and South Africa.

Angel Ho: Performance Art

Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Performance Art, Angel Ho
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Performance Art, Angel Ho. Picture: SBYA

Angel Ho is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice extends across musical production and performance, DJ work, performance art, costuming, artistic direction and film.

Being a feminine gender non-conforming queer African body, the 29-year-old Standard Bank Young Artist combines performance, drag and the digital space to blur and deconstruct contemporary culture.

Her production for the National Arts Festival, Dis MY KANT, encompasses various songs, visuals and dance performances from Angel’s repertoire.

K is for Charisma, which will be showcased through the costume and specific sonic set that will be designed by Angel, who journeys through the hope of a better future through self-love.

A is for Unique, which showcases Angel’s unique journey as an artist and human and encourages other people to connect to their uniqueness.

N is for Nerve. To be your authentic self, you need to demonstrate a lot of nerve, period.

T is for Talent. Angel will demonstrate talent cultivated over many years and give a taste of what’s to come.

Lorin Sookool: Dance

standard bank young artist dance national arts festival Lorin Sookool
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Dance, Lorin Sookool. Picture: SBYA

Interdisciplinary practitioner Lorin Sookool (30) is a contemporary dancer and choreographer whose output also spans performance, sound, photography, film and costuming.

She performed a solo offering for the 2023 Liverpool Biennial, Woza Wenties, and is fast gaining global attention for her work around complex socio-political themes in South Africa.

For the National Arts Festival this year, the Standard Bank Young Artist offers the double bill Two Sides of Skollie’s Coin.

The first show is her solo work Woza Wenties! and the second work is the new workshopped-based dance production 3 Mense Phakathi.

The title of the double-bill refers to a government-commissioned R5 coin designed by visual artist Lady Skollie in 2019 and offers two perspectives of the South African dancing body.

Zoë Modiga: Music

Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Music, Zoë Modiga
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Music, Zoë Modiga. Picture: SBYA

30-year-old Zoë Modiga is a singer, songwriter and performer with a background in classical and jazz training and is equally comfortable in house, indie and pop.

She has already generated numerous achievements, from multiple selections for the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band to winning the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition, and reaching the Top 8 of The Voice SA.

Modiga will bring her discography, including her debut album, Yellow: The Novel; the celebrated, award-winning sophomore album, Inganekwane, and the spirited, wildly anticipated new body of work, Nomthandazo, to the National Arts Festival stage.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Zoe Modiga opens up about her musical journey and new album ‘Inganekwane’

Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane: Theatre

Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Theatre, Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane
Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Theatre, Kgomotso ‘MoMo’ Matsunyane. Picture: SBYA

The 35-year-old actor, playwright and director Kgomotso “MoMo” Matsunyane was also the head writer and performer in the 2023 Naledi Award winner Hlakanyana: The Musical where she was named best supporting actress.

Matsunyane’s solo work for the 2024 National Arts Festival, is Ka Lebitso La Moya. Set in the fictional township of Ha Satane, the community is heavily riddled with poverty, unemployment and crime.

Unhappy with the government’s lack of service in their community, the people of Ha Satane grow restless.

However, the arrival of a charming new priest pacifies their anger and offers them hope for a better life. But hidden behind his charm lies a wolf in sheepskin…

  • The 2024 National Arts Festival programme is live and available for browsing online and booking.

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