NELSON Mandela Bay-based ceramic artist Delphine Neiz has scooped Southern Africa's top award for the best piece on show at this year's Corobrik National Ceramics Exhibition which opened at the Pretoria Art Museum last weekend.
The biannual exhibition is run by Ceramics Southern Africa and is considered the most prestigious event on the ceramics calendar. The best work of ceramic artists, potters and sculptors from all over South Africa, Botswana and Namibia are selected by a panel of respected judges to exhibit their work.
Although she has won several awards before, Neiz said winning this award came as a surprise because it was her first time showing at the exhibition.
"This award has really been a great surprise. It is very flattering and motivating. As a young mom of two children, I have only really started working with clay again this year, entering several group exhibitions.
"It motivates me to make more time for my art, contact galleries and try to plan solo exhibitions again. I flew up to Pretoria for the opening ceremony and the comments and compliments from the exhibiting artists and important ceramic galleries validated this award. This is really going to open new doors to me and give my work some publicity," she said.
Neiz was born in France but has been living in Port Elizabeth for the past eight years and was a resident artist at UPE before it was renamed NMMU. She exhibits her work at the ART Gallery in Cuyler Street in Central and works on her pieces between taking care of her two young children.
She praised South Africa and Port Elizabeth for the opportunities it grants young ceramic artists.
"South Africa is full of opportunities and Port Elizabeth needs young ceramists or artists. We are lucky in South Africa to have a dynamic body for ceramists called Ceramics Southern Africa – as a ceramist or potter it is very important to belong to it and grab all the opportunities it offers," she said.