Breaking News – Fine Arts Student Wins Javier Rosón Award

Rhodes University MFA student Julia Arbuckle.

By Uyanda Ntloko, Journalism and Media Studies student

Julia Arbuckle, an MFA student at Rhodes University, received the Javier Rosón Award for her work entitled “Root/Rot: The Family Bible. The work is inspired and inspired by the artist’s family history, centering on the British colonization of South Africa in 1820. The Javier Rosón Prize is awarded by the Ankaria Foundation to a promising young artist from under 28, with the aspiration to create a platform to promote culture and art by supporting creators in Spain and other parts of the world in general.

The award is specifically for book arts. Arbuckle went to Epworth High School in Pietermaritzburg, and she came to Rhodes University in 2017 to do a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is currently in her second year of a Master of Fine Arts.

She said she applied for the award through the foundation competition every year and was awarded among 220 other entrants. “I am very grateful for the award, I think it is important for a young artist like me to be presented in this way in Madrid. I have always been told that it is incredibly difficult to be recognized in Africa of the South and that artists need to establish themselves in other countries. She explained that this opportunity for me and my work to be included in the effort is amazing and very exciting for me, ”she explained .

Arbuckle’s family is directly descended from Thomas Charles White, who with his entire family settled in the Albany district in the 1820s. “While I grew up hearing stories of this family heritage, I have never felt more concretely connected to history than when I moved to Makhanda to complete my studies.I used the deep family history that is embedded in the city as a starting point for my higher education. I was able to connect with the family who still own the historic 1828 Table Farm,” Arbuckle said.

She said this story, coupled with the desire and pressing need to know more, motivated her research into the family history in Makhanda. “With the receipt of the prize, my book will become part of the permanent collection of the Ankaria Foundation and will be included in a traveling exhibition in Madrid. In addition to the purchase of the book, the Foundation granted me 1000€”, she added.

This artist’s book draws on the dimensions of the historical family bible and culminates the disjunction between disgrace and connection, between the slide of the monumental 1820 settlers’ station into town and the stories of its ancestors. “This book confronts my own reconciliation with the knowledge that my story exists because that of others has been devastated,” she concluded.

Kayleen C. Rice