Artists called on to grab at opportunities competition provides

“Be brave. Be bold. And enter.”

Drawing on her many years of experience, Les Cohn from Art Source South Africa, guest speaker at the official Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition launch at Oliewenhuis Art Museum on Tuesday 20 March, called on artists to grab at the opportunities the competition provides to advance the careers of Free State artists.

Cohn stressed how, now in its third year, this visual arts competition provides an invaluable platform for the discovery and advancement of new and emerging Free State artists through its myriad ways of exposing local talent to the art fraternity and wider public. “Entering an art competition is now just about winning. Yes, winning is amazing. But there’s so much else to gain from entering and progressing through this competition, which all assists an artist in building a sustainable and even lucrative career in art.”

She referred to the various attractions of the competition that Sam Moleko, Director at Phatshoane Henney Attorneys, highlighted moments earlier at the launch. On top of the R100 000 in prize money – with R50 000 being awarded to the winner, R20 000 to the runner-up and R10 000 each to two Merit Award winners, as well as R10 000 to the Public Choice Award winner – the five artists winning this year’s competition will also participate in the Winners Group Exhibition held mid-2019. In addition to the opportunity to showcase a broader body of their work, this exciting feature of the competition also offers mentorship, preparation and curation support to the winners.

“Exhibitions are difficult for any artist to secure, while this prize offers a rare opportunity such at this at no cost to the artist. This is a huge benefit for an artist new on the scene,” Cohn pointed out.

With the first Phatshoane Henney New Breed Winners Group Exhibition being included in the main Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein this year, that’s certainly nothing to be scoffed at. From the 6th to the 22th of July 2018 an exciting range of artworks by the 2017 New Breed Art Competition winners will be on view at Gallery on Leviseur in an exclusive group exhibition format.

Cohn added that even if an artist enters but does not win, they could still have their entry selected by the competition judging panel to be exhibited as part of the public competition exhibition at Oliewenhuis. “This is a prestigious profile builder, as only artists mature in their careers are usually selected to have their works shown in a museum.”

The Public Choice Award, which allows the public to vote for their favourite artist on the official competition website ( and thereby determine the winner thereof, increases the breadth of exposure the selected artists receive, even further.

“All this allows you to engage professionally with the art industry and to get your work seen by the public, selectors and art experts alike, not to mention buyers and collectors – all of which creates greater public awareness of you as an artist. So, grab this opportunity and make sure you enter!” she concluded.

Key competition dates

  • Submission of entries at Oliewenhuis Art Museum: 10-16 September 2018
  • Selected works exhibited at Oliewenhuis Art Museum: 18 October-25 November 2018
  • Selected works open for voting on website to determine Public Choice Award:   18 October-5 November 2018
  • Winners announced at formal prize-giving function: 8 November 2018

Entry form available at


From left to right: Baitumetse Moloabi, art student from the Central University of Technology, Mothobi Mefane, 2016 New Breed Art Competition merit prize winner, Les Cohn, guest speaker from Art Source South Africa, Sam Moleko, Director at Phatshoane Henney Attorneys, André Rose, 2017 New Breed Art Competition runner-up winner, and Ester le Roux, curator at Oliewenhuis Art Museum.