There is less than a month left until the online entries for the Portrait Award 2023 competition officially open. If you still want to stand a chance to win some wonderful prizes, best to start creating!

A new panel of adjudicators has accepted the challenge of this year’s selection. The winner will once again walk away with a whopping R 150 000 cash prize and the opportunity to show work in a solo exhibition at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery in 2025.


This year, the panel consists of Paul Emsley, Prof.Elizabeth Gunter, and Dr. Rose Kirumira. All three judges are inspiring educators and remarkable artists in their own right.

Paul Emsley is a British artist who worked in South Africa until 1996 and is now resident of Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England. He is a former lecturer at Stellenbosch University and is currently represented by the Redfern Gallery of Cork Street, London. He has won numerous awards including the BP Portrait Award 2007. He has painted Sir V. S. Naipaul for the National Portrait Gallery. His portrait of Nelson Mandela is in the collection of The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg. In 2012 he was commissioned by The National Portrait Gallery to paint the first official portrait of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

Prof. Elizabeth Gunter studied at Stellenbosch University, where she graduated with a BA degree in Fine Arts (Educationis). She obtained Honours (1980) and Masters (1984) degrees in Fine Arts and a Ph.D. degree in Visual Arts (2011) from the same university. She has lectured in art at various institutions. Currently, she facilitates Drawing at the Visual Arts Department of Stellenbosch University, from where she retired at the end of 2022.

Dr. Rose Kirumira is an Associate Professor at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Department of Visual Arts, College of Engineering Design Art and Technology, at Makerere University. She specializes in human form, sculpted wood, clay, and concrete monumental sculptures.

Online Entries open between 1 and 10 June 2023 ( Besides the enticing R 150 000 winning prize, a second prize of R 30 000 and third prize of R 20 000 will also be awarded. One lucky entrant could win a residency in Spain at the Blue Cactus Artist Residency, sponsored by The CoArt. The Italian Art Shop, PenCafé Durbanville, and Primeart have also come on board to sponsor some fantastic art hampers. Artists will once again be eligible for Portrait Zoom Sessions with Andrew James from the Royal Portrait Society in Britain. A new addition to the competition is the Ryno Swart drawing medal, which will be awarded to the best portrait in a drawing medium.

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