Regional and final judging has been concluded for the 30th Sasol New Signatures Art Competition 2019. This year 80 artworks have been shortlisted from over 600 submissions nationally. The final judging panel selected seven finalists from this elite group. The overall winner, runner-up and five merit award winners will be announced on Wednesday, 21 August at an awards ceremony held at the Pretoria Art Museum.
Sasol New Signatures is South Africa’s longest-standing art competition and forms part of the developmental journey for artists trying to launch their careers. Information Sessions offer a platform to address issues emerging artists face such as pricing, presentation and how to market works prior to submission. Feedback Sessions offering artists an overall critique as to why certain entered works were accepted and others rejected take place after regional selection.
“This competition offers an exciting opportunity to look at work from emerging, young artists on the verge of a professional career. The judges were determined to seek out work of the highest standard; cutting edge pieces which would hold their own at any international salon or pavilion,“ said Professor Pieter Binsbergen, Sasol New Signatures’ Chairperson.
Strong narratives identified by the judges included commentary on environmental concerns, identity and gender challenges and issues pertaining to the current political, economic and social justice status quo. Wayne Reddiar who sat on the regional judging panel for KwaZulu Natal commented that: “Many of the works were thought-provoking and moving”. This sentiment was endorsed by Makgati Molebatsi, one of the regional judges for Johannesburg who commented that entries “were very diverse and have pushed the envelope to move visual art to the next level”.
Although submissions used a wide variety of artistic media, the judges adhered to three different criteria when judging, namely: concept, technique and presentation. Regional judge from Stellenbosch, Jacobus Kloppers said: “Artists working with new technology and material presented work with strong visual poetry”. Binsbergen reiterated that “the judges were 100% focused on selecting stand-out work with a strong conceptual underpinning and exceptional skill”.
The winner of the Sasol New Signatures competition will be announced at a ceremony on 21 August 2019, after which the finalists’ works will be displayed at the Pretoria Art Museum until 29 September. All artworks are available to purchase.
2018 Winner Jessica Storm Kapp will present her solo exhibition entitled Artefacts of Belonging alongside the 2019 finalists as part of her prize.
The overall winner receives R100 000 prize money and a solo exhibition at next year’s event, with the runner-up winning R25 000 and each of the five merit award winners taking home R10 000.
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