‘A Young Man’ wins national portrait prize

A Young Man by Heather Gourlay-Conyngham L'Hommage a Ingres African Chic(k) Ms Tshegofatso Phage Seated by Nicholas Allen Professor Brown by Angela Banks Face of Xhosa (my four fathers) by Anathi Tyawa
 The secret life of a mathematician by Sanell Aggenbach Mukwirikwiri (foreigner) by Richard Mudariki Voetstoots by Willem Pretorius Myself with plants by Susan Grundlingh

From top left: ‘A Young Man’ by Heather Gourlay-Conyngham; ‘L’Hommage a Ingres African Chic(k) Ms Tshegofatso Phage Seated’ by Nicholas Allen; ‘Professor Brown’ by Angela Banks; ‘Face of Xhosa (my four fathers)’ by Anathi Tyawa. From bottom left: ‘The Secret Life of a Mathematician’ by Sanell Aggenbach; ‘Mukwirikwiri (foreigner)’ by Richard Mudariki; ‘Voetstoots’ by Willem Pretorius; ‘Myself with Plants’ by Susan Grundlingh


anne taylorBy Anne Taylor
29 August 2013

Heather Gourlay-Conyngham has won the first Sanlam Private Investments (SPI) National Portrait award for her extraordinary painting, A Young Man (top left).

The award aims to celebrate and showcase the best original portrait artwork in South Africa. An astounding 1 792 works from 1 200 artists were entered into the competition, according to Rust-en-Vrede, where the works were judged. Gourlay-Conyngham won R100 000 for her nude male portrait (177 x 180cm, oil on canvas).

The exhibition of the “top 40” entries is on display at Rust-en-Vrede in Durbanville until 8 October. The exhibition will then tour South Africa.

Daniël Kriel, the chief executive of SPI, said the outstanding quality and standard of the entries received was testament to the range and depth of talent South Africa had to offer. “Portraiture in South Africa has had a rich, and at times controversial, history that reflects the country’s social and political evolution.”

  • See Rust-en-Vrede for a full list of the 40 finalists as well as images of all the top 40 works.
  • The SPI exhibition is on at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery until 8 October; at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery from 24 October to 13 November; at Stephan Welz & Co at the Alphen Estate in Constantia, Cape Town, from 26 November to 10 January 2014; and at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts during April 2014.
  • See more of Gourlay-Conyngham’s work: heathergc.com