The 2017 Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award was awarded to Muntu Vilakazi for his photographic triptych entitled Imvuselelo, Inkonzo, Uhambo exploring the visual documentation of contemporary black history in South Africa. The Ekurhuleni prize was awarded to Lindokuhle Zwane for Imithetho Kababou (My Father and Them).
Vilakazi, a documentary photographer, aims to create a qualitative, existential record of black life. His work aims to redress historical injustice and lack of "black bodies" in South African institutions and visual society.
One of South Africa's oldest national fine art awards, the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards, in partnership with the City of Ekurhuleni, is presented in September to correspond with the month in which Thami Mnyele's remains were re-buried in Tembisa, South Africa. Mnyele was a freedom fighter who used art as a tool of expression during the struggle for liberation. He died while exiled in Botswana in 1985.
The competition aims to embody everything Mnyele sought to achieve with his art. According to Dora Mlambo, MMC for Community Services of the City of Ekurhuleni, the competition promotes art education and it encourages artists to transcend limitations and use their art as social and political commentary.
Lindokuhle Zwane, Imithetho kobaba (my fathers and them), Charcoal and acrylic on Fabriano paper
Ekurhuleni prize winner Lindokuhle Zwane's work Imithetho kababa derives from his body of work focussing on feelings of nostalgia and how the past weaves itself into the present. The work presents a young man surrounded by memories of his father and previous generations. Imithetho kababa talks about his journey into leadership without being strictly groomed for the role.
Merit awards were awarded to Manyatsa Monyamane (Multi & New Media / Photography), Sarah Hunkin (Art on Paper), Haifeng Xuan (Painting) and Vivien Kohler (Sculpture). Monyamane also received the Lizamore & Associates Mentorship Programme Solo Exhibition Prize.