Koleka Putuma

Koleka Putuma is among the winners at the Standard Bank Young Artist Awards 2022 announced on December 1, 2022.

The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards were established in 1981 to celebrate emerging South African artists who live their personal truth through their art and show exceptional talent in their chosen medium but have not yet received recognition and acclaim. For the previous years, those awarded were in visual art, dance, jazz, music, and theatre.

National Arts Festival CEO, Monica Newton said, “The 2022 Standard Bank Artists are a cutting-edge and diverse group of creatives that are defining the South African cultural moment. We look forward to their fresh perspectives and original performances at the 2023 National Arts Festival. The awards have made it possible for hundreds of artists to be part of the National Arts Festival over the last 41 years and to take their careers to new heights. We would like to thank our partners Standard Bank for their ongoing commitment to the arts in South Africa.”

For 2022, the poetry category was awarded for the first time and it went to multi-award-winning theatre practitioner, writer, and poet Koleka Putuma. Her poetry tackles themes such as homophobia, womanhood, race and the dynamics of relationships, religion and politics. Her poetry is sharp and thought provoking, unique in its form, language, and structure.

Putuma in response to the honour said, “Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Poetry. Wild. Honoured to be the first recipient in this new category & I hope it sticks around.”