Johannesburg, South Africa – Regional judging has been concluded for the 28th Sasol New Signatures Art Competition with 119 artworks shortlisted from over 600 submissions received nationally. The judging panel will now select seven finalists from this group with the overall winner, runner up and five merit award winners being announced on Wednesday, 30th August at an awards ceremony held at the Pretoria Art Museum.
Sasol New Signatures is South Africa’s longest standing art competition and an important developmental journey for artists with feedback sessions offering a platform to address issues artists face such as pricing, presentation and how to approach galleries to market works.
Feedback sessions were introduced in 2016 and are a vital element of the competition, giving entrants the opportunity to have their work critiqued, which is hugely valuable to artists looking to make a breakthrough.
“This competition is an exciting opportunity to look at work from emerging, young artists on the verge of a professional career and feedback sessions encourage artists to evolve and progress,” said Dr. Pieter Binsbergen, Sasol New Signatures chairperson.
Notable topics tackled by artists included cultural and personal identity, and issues pertaining to current environmental, political and social justice. The judges also recognised a strong theme of “materiality” with a re-investigation and re-purposing of found and consciously selected material. Judges saw robust submissions of mixed media featuring unconventional materials like crystals, combinations of wire, fabric, folded paper, nails, plastic and ceramics. Following on from 2016, the submission of digital works was meaningful and Binsbergen added “very relevant, very today”.
Artist and Johannesburg regional judge Hannelie Coetzee said she had found the artworks “contemporary and inspiring” whilst Bianca Whitehead from, the NMU (Nelson Mandela University) judging panel in Port Elizabeth said “I felt the selected work was very strong and able to hold its own in the gallery space”.
Although submissions used a wide variety of mediums, the judges adhered to three different criteria when judging, namely: concept, technique and presentation.
“Successful pieces demonstrated conceptual depth and quality execution. These artworks offer a great opportunity for art collectors to purchase excellent works at great prices and at the start of these artists’ careers, many of whom go on to do great things,” said Binsbergen.
The winner of Sasol New Signatures competition will be announced at a ceremony on 30th August 2017, after which the finalists’ works will be displayed at the Pretoria Art Museum until 8 October 2017. All artworks will be available for purchase.
Sasol New Signatures 2016 winner Zyma Amien will present her solo exhibition entitled “Real” lives and “ordinary” objects alongside the 2017 finalists as part of her prize.
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