Fine arts and design alumni make UP proud at the Absa L'Atelier Art Competition

Posted on October 25, 2017


The Absa L'Atelier Art Competition is one of Africa's most prestigious annual art events and receives entries from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The competition is run in conjunction with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) and is open to artists between the ages of 21 and 35. The finalists' works are sent to Johannesburg for final adjudication and exhibition and this year includes works from several University of Pretoria students and alumni.

UP alumni Oliver Mayhew (Fine Arts), Wilma Nell (Fine Arts), Allen Laing (Fine Arts), Shaun Francis (Information Design) and MA (Fine Arts) candidate, Shenaz Mahomed, were finalists in the competition. Of these, two of the entrants, Oliver Mayhew and Wilma Nell, reached the top ten in the competition, with Nell winning the L'Atelier Second Merit Award. This award includes a two month residency at the kunst:raum sylt quelle Foundation, Germany, as well as a return airfare and a monthly stipend for her trip. This competition annually gives approximately 100 rising artists the opportunity to promote their work, as well as to have their work captured in the sought-after catalogue. Making it into the top 100 finalists, the top ten, or even receiving a merit award, affords budding artists a significant opportunity to kickstart or further their artistic careers.

This year's winner was Maral Bolouri from Kenya, with an installation titled Mothers and Others. The exhibition runs from 29 September to 27 October at the Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg. For more information visit


Wilhelmina Nell
No Evidence of a Struggle
Bronze, wax paper and wood
7 x 16 x 19 cm



- Author Thomas Roy Pearse

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