Exclusive: South African Artist Tony Gum Wins This Year’s Pulse Prize

The South African-born artist was chosen for her outstanding solo display, "Ode to She."

Tony Gum's Xhosa Woman-Umfazi(2017). Courtesy of Christopher Moller Gallery.
Tony Gum's Xhosa Woman-Umfazi(2017). Courtesy of Christopher Moller Gallery.

The artist Tony Gum is the recipient of the 2017 Miami Beach Pulse Prize, the fair announced today. The jury selected the South African artist to receive a cash grant of $2,500, chosen based on her solo show for Christopher Moller Gallery.

Gum’s presentation, “Ode to She,” is a timely reflection on her own experience as a Xhosa woman. Her work is rooted in the tradition known as intonjane, where a young girl evolves physically and spiritually through the many stages of her native culture.

At barely 22 years old, Gum is certainly a young artist on the rise, and definitely has both buzz and a real fan base. Vogue anointed her “the coolest girl in Cape Town” and her 40,000 Instagram followers seem to agree.

Tony Gum’s Xhosa Woman-Umama omkhulu. Courtesy of the artist and Chistopher Moller Gallery.

Gum was one of at least 15 nominees for this year’s prize, and joins a roster of past winners that includes the multi-media artist Devan Shimoyama of Samuel Freeman Gallery, last year’s winner.

The prize winner was selected from a panel of art world experts, including the associate director of the newly opened ICA Miami, Tommy Ralph Pace. In a statement, Pace lauded “Pulse Art Fair’s commitment to presenting solo artist projects provides critical exposure for young and under-recognized artists.”


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