Visionary Award made to The PREEMPT GROUP

Visionary Award 2021~2022, South Africa

From the Tim Hetherington Trust 

in association with Javett Art Centre UP


Visionary Award AFRICA

2021 ~ 2022





In 2021 the Tim Hetherington Trust partnered with Javett Art Centre (University of Pretoria) and through them with a network of arts organizations throughout Africa to seek innovative visual storytellers for the 2021 Visionary Award.  Marking the tenth anniversary of Tim's death in Libya, 2011, this year's award celebrates Tim's deep involvement with the continent and honours contemporary African artists who embody the relentless creative energy that so inspired Tim throughout his career.


The PREEMPT GROUP, comprising South African Artists Phumulani Ntuli and Mbali Dhlamini, commanded the judges' attention with their sophisticated embrace of infinite future possibilities that are inexorably linked to history through land and landscape.  Using simple traditional media built into the most up to date technologies the PREEMPT GROUP's work demonstrates the vibrant potential of the moment even while recognising the pain of the journey from then until now.  Describing themselves more as facilitators than as sole authors of their work, Ntuli and Dhlamini describe the PREEMPT GROUP as existing,

"Within the intersection of trans-media technologies, archives and open source technologies. The collective engages diverse publics/ audiences, through workshops, exhibition and film screenings attempting to make visible the pauses of technology within decoloniality. We ask how Open are open source technologies? Particularly, if analyzed with the lens of traditional epistemologies. We translate our research through film and hypermedia often reflecting on analogue and technological image-making."

The 2021 Visionary Award will become manifest in the form of a residency hosted by the Javett Art Centre UP later in 2022.

About the judges

Azu Nwagbogu is the Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non- profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwagbogu was appointed as the Interim Director/ Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa from June 2018 to August 2019. Nwagbogu also serves as Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival.

Dr. Candice Jansen writes on photography. She received her Master’s of Liberal Studies from Duke University as an American Association of University Women Fellow in 2014.  Jansen is the editor of Black Photo Libraries, presented by the Market Photo Workshop where she was responsible for research, archives, and exhibitions (2019-2021). She is currently Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg.

Jean-Sylvain Tshilumba Mukendi is a cultural practitioner, writer and researcher. His research interests focus on art/photography practices of Africa and its diaspora, and the relevance of globalism in the contemporary art world.  In 2019, he obtained a Master of Art in Art History as part of the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research programme (NRF) at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is currently project coordinator and fundraiser at Picha (Lubumbashi). 

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong works for the City of Tshwane as a Cultural Officer. He is based at the Pretoria Art Museum where he is responsible for the Education and Development Programme. Through this programme, he prepares candidates to present guided tours and, those with an art background, to facilitate art making workshops to visiting schools and members of public. Parallel to his work at the Art Museum he runs Intraparadox, a blog primarily dedicated to the archiving of South African contemporary artists.  

Gillian Fleischmann, Javett-UP is interim Public Programmes Coordinator of the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria.

About Javett-UP

The Javett-UP is a partnership between the University of Pretoria and the Javett Foundation. Both share a firm belief in the value of the arts for society in general, and for education. It’s a project that is collegiate as it is philanthropic. With one foot firmly rooted in academia, and the other imbedded in the public, Javett-UP aims to make the art of Africa accessible, relevant and engaging.

About The Visionary Award

The Visionary Award is designed to foster innovative approaches to storytelling and supports visionary individuals who we hope will offer inspiration to others by example.   The award seeks out visual artists and journalists whose thinking and process reaches beyond the limitations of conventional media practice to create engaging and dynamic communications using any appropriate technology to create and distribute stories that inspire audiences and bring a fresh understanding of the chosen subject.

The successful candidates demonstrate personal vision, artistic ability, ethical integrity and have the necessary craft skills to execute their project effectively.  The award particularly favors projects that can be augmented by the application of new skills or technologies and in addition to the £20,000 cash grant we offer support to help expand the scope of the project beyond initial expectations.  Openness to new ideas and willingness to work in partnership are key characteristics for eligibility. 


IMAGES FROM augmented reality stop-motion installation,

Emhlabeni ("World, Earth"), 2020, The PREEMPT Group

Visionary Award made to The PREEMPT GROUP
Visionary Award made to The PREEMPT GROUP
Visionary Award made to The PREEMPT GROUP