The first round of judging for the 2015 Sasol New Signatures art competition has taken place in all nine provinces. “I am satisfied with the overall quality of works selected and the use of unconventional materials in combination with conceptual exploration. The selected works are of outstanding quality,” are the words of Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch University and 2015 Sasol New Signatures regional judge Hentie van der Merwe.
Stellenbosch was one of seven submission points across the country which attracted a fair number of entries. Artists who are becoming increasingly popular, and enjoying growing appeal, are those who move away from the use of conventional media. In this year’s showing, artists made use of unique material such as found objects, thermal blankets and a telephone directory.
In terms of themes, the works gravitated towards discourses of self and social interaction which seemed to be a recurring theme in national competition entries.
Over the year Cape Town artists have enjoyed great success in the competition with many using the platform as a springboard into the art industry. One such artist is multi-disciplinary talent Haroon Gunn-Salie. After he received a merit award in the 2013 Sasol New Signatures competition, Gunn-Salie went on to feature in the 2014 Design Indaba, as well as major international exhibitions including the 19º Festival de Arte Contemporânea Sesc_Videobrasil. His work was also selected for Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s 89-plus project – a long-term, international, multi-platform research project which investigates the generation of artistic innovators born in or after 1989.
As the longest running art competition in South Africa, Sasol New Signatures has helped launch the careers of numerous successful artists. This year seventeen artworks were shortlisted from Cape Town for exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum and will be in the running for the overall R 100 000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the 2016show.
The Sasol New Signatures art competition exhibition will be open to the public from 03 September until 4 October 2015. For more information visit www.sasolnewsignatures.co.za