Alumna wins coveted Art award

12 October 2018

Alumna and part-time lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Philiswa Lila, won the prestigious Gerard Sekoto award of this year’s ABSA L'Atelier competition. The award is made to a South African artist who has demonstrated continual improvement in the quality of their entry year-on-year, and consists of a return flight ticket to Paris, France and a three-month stay in the Cité Internationale des Arts, among others.

Philiswa Lila, winner of the the Gerard Sekoto award of this year’s ABSA L'Atelier competition poses next to her winning artwork.

Self-Titled, the name of the Philiswa’s winning artwork in beads and wood, is part of a series entitled Self-Portraits. The series relates to her name, Philiswa, meaning ‘be healed.’ 

“I use this name to explore the nuances of language, meaning and experiences of individualism. A name of a person carries with it different narratives in relation to their surroundings. Self-Portraits is an ongoing project about individual experiences as recognisable or familiar to collective frameworks of culture, mainly in isiXhosa, but also aware of the interconnectedness of cultures in South Africa,” she says.  

“I feel really excited and grateful after receiving the Gerard Sekoto award. It’s an important award for any young artist and I plan to use this opportunity to explore more of my art making, research and writing experience. I encourage TUT Art students to believe in their vision and never allow criticism, fear and doubt to overpower confidence,” she adds.

South African artist Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993) spent 40 years in France in voluntary exile from apartheid. He was a painter, musician and composer.

Lila is currently pursuing her MA degree in Art History at Rhodes University. She obtained a B Tech degree in Fine and Applied Arts from TUT and an Honours degree in Curatorship from the University of Cape Town. 

Lila’s award-winning artwork, Self-Titled.

Images courtesy of Absa Gallery

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