Nontsikelelo Veleko


Nontsikelelo "Lola� Veleko likes to keep things real, which is probably why her lens focuses on urban environments and their unnatural offspring � graffiti, fashion and the identity crisis. Veleko's series of "street fashion� portraits, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, earned her a nomination for MTN New Contemporaries and a following that would see her take up residence in the United Kingdom and exhibit in galleries from Las Palmas and Paris to New York and Switzerland. At 33, Veleko, a graduate of the Market Photo Workshop, is the second photographer to win the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, which probably says more about the artistic value of her work than the rave reviews in The New York Times and Village Voice combined. But although her work cuts through geographic and ethnic lines to celebrate a universal urban culture in search of identity, her images remain distinctly and proudly South African. Just like Lola. � Cat Pritchard

Lunch spot: Kaldi's, Newtown, Johannesburg