Cream of the creative crop

Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipients to impress at festival

The 2018 young artists are, from left, Igshaan Adams, Chuma Sopotela, Jemma Kahn, Thandi Ntuli, Guy Buttery and Musa Hlatshwayo
The 2018 young artists are, from left, Igshaan Adams, Chuma Sopotela, Jemma Kahn, Thandi Ntuli, Guy Buttery and Musa Hlatshwayo

The National Arts Festival next month will give visitors the chance to experience the cream of the crop of South African creativity, and the six winners of the annual Standard Bank Young Artist Award are a bigi drawcard for festival audiences.

This year’s SBYA winners are Guy Buttery for music, Chuma Sopotela for performance art, Igshaan Adams for visual art, Jemma Kahn for theatre, Musa Hlatshwayo for dance and Thandi Ntuli for jazz.

These budding stars join award-winning artists who’ve gone on to shape South Africa’s creative economy and art history.

  • Sopotela is a performance artist whose practice reflects the versatility of skills she commands. She is fast gaining broad respect as an actress, dancer, puppeteer and all-round performing artist. She balances her love for traditional theatre with the complexity and conceptual challenges offered by performance art in a refreshing way.
  • Buttery is an immensely talented composer and guitarist. He plays like a man on a search to stretch the boundaries of fingerstyle guitar to their outermost limits and he is winning.
    Buttery has found a way to play his unique style of guitar that is deeply South African while also speaking a global musical language.
  • Adams is an exciting visual artist who is finding a creative and refreshing language to discuss faith, gender and identity. His lavish tapestries and sculptures made from strings, beads, found fabric and steel, delve into code-complex concerns regarding Islam and cultural hybridity.
  • Kahn as a groundbreaking theatre practitioner, has found a fascinating way of using a Japanese form of street theatre, the Kamishibai to explore uniquely South African themes with universal reach. Her multi-instalment, autobiographical story, In Bocca al Lupo, has shored her up a leading light for her generation of theatrical storytellers.
  • Hlatshwayo is a prodigious talent with great promise as both dancer and choreographer. He has performed with various local and international dance and theatre companies. Hlatshwayo maintains a professional practice that is as focused on creative rigour as it is invested in grassroots community development work.
  • Ntuli is a leading young pianist and composer among a rich cadre of South Africa’s young crop of jazz musicians. Her broad musical vision has seen her shine in various musical contexts. Ntuli plays with equal excitement alongside experimental outfits where she collaborates with a vinyl-spinning DJ or in the company of a classic jazz band or the philharmonic orchestra.

To see where you can catch the young artists, visit the NAF website: