The 13th Tollman Award for the Visual Arts
Emerging South African artist Cinga Samson, has been awarded the 13th Tollman Award for the Visual Arts. While Samson’s earlier work addressed themes of masculinity, spirituality and race against the backdrop of modernity, his recent paintings are more introspective. Imagery is pieced together from art history books and personal visions, forming a style that is anachronistic and surreal in a manner more reminiscent of the formal traditions of European art than of contemporary South African painting. Moving from vanitas-like still life – bouquets of flowers, peeled fruit and animal skulls – and depictions of groups of conspiratorial white men dressed in Victorian costume, to fantastical self-portraits, Samson’s work reinterprets classical genres of painting, using these as a foundation for work that is socially engaged yet delicately subjective.
Cinga Samson was born in 1986 in Cape Town, and continues to live and work there. He has held four solo exhibitions in Cape Town – Safari Fantasy (2017), Ubugqoboka Magqoboka (2016), Thirty Pieces of Silver (2015) at blank projects, and Rustin Iron at the AVA Gallery (2011). He has participated in several group shows, and was an artist-in-residence at Greatmore Studios in 2011.
The Tollman Award for the Visual Arts was founded in 2003. A grant of R100 000 is given annually to a young artist who has received critical recognition but is hampered by limited resources to realise the potential of his or her work. Recipients may spend the award as they wish to create new work, travel, study or produce a publication.
Since its inception the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts has significantly helped develop the careers of its recipients. Wim Botha, Churchill Madikida, Mustafa Maluka, Zanele Muholi, Nicholas Hlobo, Paul Edmunds, Sabelo Mlangeni, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Ian Grose, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Portia Zvavahera, Mawande Ka Zenzile and Simphiwe Ndzube are previous recipients.
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