Bfn artist wins Absa L’Atelier Award

Winner of an Absa L’Atelier Award, Adelheid von Maltitz

Bloemfontein born and bred artist, Adelheid von Maltitz, who draws her inspiration from roadside shrines, has been announced winner of the Group A Absa L’Atelier Awards for her work.

Von Maltitz, who has recently completed her PhD in Fine Arts at the University of the Free State, told Bloemfontein Courant this achievement is momentous for her career as an artist. “I am into academics and see myself as a practicing artist, so this award shows me that there is potential in my work and that I can make it as an artist in South Africa.”

Von Maltitz is also a lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts, primarily in sculpture and drawing, and entered a portfolio of work, which consisted of about four to five art works.

She described her work as “very process-based”. “It is often about the process of making and not just the final artwork. My work also calms me down and I find it therapeutic.”

Her interest in roadside shrines was sparked when she observed what looked like a mother and sister continually, over months, rebuilding and maintaining a roadside shrine, which she passed regularly on her daily commute. By initially examining the nature of roadside shrines in relation to her own art-making processes, she was struck by the similarities in the way in which death and loss may be engaged with, constructively and in a healing manner, through art.

The Absa L’Atelier art competition was established 35 years ago and focuses on showcasing and investing some of Africa’s finest young artists between the ages of 21 and 40.

This award has also landed Von Maltitz the opportunity to have a solo exhibition within the next five years at the Absa Gallery, based in Johannesburg.

Pierce van Heerden