SA artist to receive French national order

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pretoria - Renowned South African, Robyn Orlin, is to be acknowledged for her choreography and creative contribution to the arts by the French President Nikolas Sarkozy.

The President is to make her a Knight of the French National Order of Merit, according to the Department of Arts and Culture.

The blue ribbon is given to those who have served with distinction over an extended period of time, but not meriting the award of the Legion of Honour.

Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan has congratulated the international star. "We are proud of her, a South African receiving this prestigious award from France. It is a testimony of the calibre of artists from South Africa that are being recognised internationally.

"May Robyn Orlin continue with her creative impulse reaching further heights," he said in a statement on Friday.

The department said Ms Orlin worked in the Market Theatre precinct which was the hub of artistic life in Johannesburg, especially among anti-apartheid activists.

She joined the Federated Union of Black Artist Academy where she created a contemporary dance section and choreographed and facilitated works during the 1980's.

In 1990 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in the USA where she attended The School of Art Institute of Chicago. She returned in 1994 and joined the Market Theatre Laboratory, where she taught youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ms Orlin built up a reputation for working on difficult and complex current issues in South Africa. She has engaged and fought for the condition of women, social abuse, homelessness, awareness on HIV and AIDS and for tolerance and inclusivity.