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Oageng is overall 2020 Innibos National Craft Awards winner

Inspired by the dashiki, a boldly patterned West African garment, Johannesburg resident Oageng Manana’s hand-made chest of drawers most impressed the judges of the 2020 Innibos National Craft Awards.

The organisers of the awards decided to curate an online exhibition – featuring all 60 shortlisted works – rather than postpone the event until after the national coronavirus lockdown.

Oageng’s achievement was announced directly after the exhibition on June 26. As overall winner of the annual competition, he pockets R50 000.

Second place was shared by Krugersdorp’s Pierre Fourie and Nelspruit’s Yolandi Diesel. Pierre’s entry was a majestic horse’s head crafted from hundreds of individual strands of 4mm-steel round bar, while Yolandi entered an intricately hand-carved animal skull.

Third place went to Boksburg resident Clement Maenetja for his stunning range of ceramic plates, created to resemble the enamel plates of his youth.

This year, four categories were added to the competition, thanks to the support of the National Department of Arts and Culture. The categories recognise craftsmen who make a living from their talent and who use recycled or heritage material.

The category winners are:

Curios: Saskia de Jager of Colesburg in the Northern Cape (Tribal Coffee Scoops).

Corporate gifts: Zulu Mien of Johannesburg, in collaboration with the Rhubhani project (Bahlezi Necklace).

Beading: Sophie Mahlangu of Kameelrivier in Mpumalanga (Beaded Bicycle).

Recycling: Sibusiso Mlangeni of Orange Farm, Johannesburg (Nutcase Study).

Now in its fourth year, the Innibos National Craft Awards has seen a steady growth in entries, with 1 360 works being submitted this year.

The organisers pride themselves on keeping the competition as inclusive as possible and were thus thrilled with the number of emerging craftsmen who entered this year, the diversity of entries and the geographic spread of entrants.

The winners shared R165 000 in prize-money.

The Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation spokesperson Sibongile Nkosi said at the announcement of the winners that she was pleased the organisers of the awards had adjusted to the ‘new normal’ of life during the coronavirus pandemic by creating an enabling platform for the participants’ work to be acknowledged.

“We are thrilled to honour these artists for excellence and craftmanship,” said Standard Bank Innibos Arts Festival co-founder Sandra Jacobs.

This year’s adjudication panel comprised Malibongwe Tyilo, Associate Editor of Maverick Life and style consultant; Ayanda Bala-Nyamimba, Craft and Design Institute: Market Development; Maureen Waldeck, Brand Manager of Tourvest Destination Retail; Anton Bosch, master ceramicist; Niel Nortje, MTN SA Foundation’s Art Collection Manager and Dawn Robertson, the CEO Constitutional Hill.

Innibos Digitaal

The craft exhibition officially opened Innibos Digitaal, an exciting online line-up of archived and new music and theatre productions.

Innibos Digitaal’s shows will be available until December, when it is hoped the ever-popular Innibos Arts Festival will, as usual, be hosted in Mpumalanga’s capital city of Mbombela. Tickets for Innibos Digitaal are available from Computicket.