Pretoria, South Africa - Nosiviwe Matikinca (22), a third year student from Gqeberha has been announced as the winner of the 2023 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. Matikinca walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and an opportunity to have a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2024.
Matikinca won the coveted title for her work titled Ndiziphiwe -They were given to me, a ceramic installation about underprivileged learners who wear school shoes that are handed down to them by their older siblings or family members. By immortalising these shoes through the ceramic slip-casting method, they have been given a new purpose. This process also enables the artist to capture the essence of the used shoes, including every mark, scratch and hole. As ceramic sculptures, the shoes have been symbolically restored, but are also very fragile and breakable. This fragility is a metaphor for the precarity of the public schooling system of our country, where black South African learners are subjected to sub-standard education.
Pfunzo Sidogi, Chairperson of the Sasol New Signatures Competition, said: “This year, 765 entries were submitted throughout the country. While the volume of entries declined from last year, the narrative power of the artworks was just as loud and profound. Poverty, love, religion, rape, climate change, displacement, are some of the individual and collective narratives captured throughout the hundreds of submissions. Every person has a story that needs to be told and I am particularly proud that this competition provides a space for all creative voices to be heard and seen”.
For 33 years Sasol has been the proud sponsor of the New Signatures competition, which was established by the Association of Arts Pretoria in the late 1960’s, “Sasol takes pride in helping to provide a platform for our nation’s burgeoning artistic voices to share their stories with a wider audience and record this for posterity. Sasol congratulates all the winners of the 2023 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, as well as those artists whose works were selected for this exhibition. We wish them all a prosperous future ahead” said Elton Fortuin, Sasol Vice President: Group Communications and Brand Management.
Themba Mkhangeli from Cape Town (28) was crowned runner-up and awarded R25 000 for his work entitled Amawele. The portrait of twin sisters, who reside in the artist’s neighbourhood, pays homage to their beauty and innocence, embodied through the unerasable process of ink pen drawing. Although gender-based violence inserts unerasable marks on women that hurt and scar them, the unerasable mark-making used in this drawing does the opposite, because it celebrates and honours the beauty of women. The diamond shape between them is the symbol of beauty which he always finds in women, it also creates a balance between the two figures.
The 5 Merit award winners are (alphabetical order) :
Matthew David Blackburn (29) - Johannesburg
Acrylic on hardboard
Michelle Czarnecki (39) - Cape Town
There is still time I
Ribbon thread on linen
Ofentse Letebele (King Debs) (34) - Cape Town
Bina & Neo
Mixed media – acrylic paint on MDF
Thabo Treasure Mofokeng (37) - Johannesburg
Acrylic paint and glass
Taryn Emily Noppé (21) - Gqeberha
Ink and graphite on Fabriano
Each Merit Award winner received a R10 000 cash prize.
“My sincerest appreciation goes to all the judges who served on the various panels this year both regionally and for the final judging. We were so privileged to have such leading experts and passionate champions of the art industry as part of the process this year. Their professionalism, exceptional knowledge and experience are evident in the calibre of artworks that made it into the catalogue and exhibition,” continued Sidogi.
“On behalf of Sasol, we congratulate all the winners of the 2023 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, as well as those whose works were selected for this exhibition, and wish them all the best for the future. We also extend our gratitude to the Association of Arts Pretoria for their dedication and hard work, as well as to our partners, the City of Tshwane, the Pretoria Art Museum and Stuttaford Van Lines, for their continued and loyal support,” concluded Fortuin.
Ingoma Yothando, or Song of Love translated from isiZulu, is the solo exhibition by Mondli Mbhele, winner of Sasol New Signatures 2022 and was also unveiled at the Pretoria Art Museum on 6 September. Mbhele’s medium of choice is fabric collage, as for him it shares similarities with our daily lives. Fabric covers our bodies, while boosting our confidence and providing a new canvas for each day. Mbhele collects offcuts of fabric from various fusion artists in Durban and Johannesburg for use in his collages. He realised that these offcuts have different qualities and value or worth, but when discarded they become a metaphor for a state of vulnerability. By collecting and using these offcuts, he creates a new dialogue between that which is discarded and its worth.
The Sasol New Signatures exhibition featuring the work of the 2023 winners and finalists, takes place at the Pretoria Art Museum from 7 September until 29 October 2023. All the finalists are included in the competition catalogue available online. The exhibition can also be viewed virtually on the website. All works are available for sale.