ABSA L'Atelier Merit Award

The ABSA L’Atelier is South Africa’s most prestigious art competition and is held annually for artists between ages 21 to 35. This award not only ensures South Africa’s emerging artists of recognition, but also affords them the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. A look through the list of previous winners will testify to this.
 Four prizes will be made available: First prize, two merit award prizes and the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist. 
One of the merit awards is done in cooperation with the Sylt Foundation. The merit winner will sopend a two-month residency on the island of Sylt in Northern Germany.

Wilhelmina Nell No Evidence Of A Struggle | SA

South African artist Wilhelmina Nell has been awarded the Second Merit Award at the 2017 Absa L’Atelier.  Her win includes a two-month residency at the Sylt Foundation on the german Island of Sylt in 2018.

Wilhelmina Nell (b.1990) obtained a BA (FA) from the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 2014. She was a finalist in the L’Atelier competition in 2014. Nell’s winning work, No Evidence of a Struggle, is made from bronze, wax paper and wood. ‘Growing up, I was told that the crust of a loaf of bread contained the most nutrients and as such it is very important to always eat it, should I wish to grow up healthy,’ she says. ‘This seemed reasonable since it matched up with all the other life lessons I was being taught, which emphasised the importance of hard work and good behaviour, no matter how unpleasant it may be. I was assured that diligent behaviour was the key to a happy and successful future. As such, the discarded lunchbox – filled with untouched crusts – became a sickening symbol of sloth. It is the mark of a person unwilling to be proactive in their success, in a world where I was told good deeds and actions always yield good results and misfortune is brought on through one’s own faults.’ Nell’s win includes a two-month residency at the Sylt Foundation on the Island of Sylt, Germany. The residency includes an apartment on the island, a return flight to Germany and a monthly stipend.