Jewellery design shines brightly as an up-and-coming young ring designer becomes the Overall Winner of the PPC Imaginarium Awards, South Africa’s most supportive art and design competition for emerging creatives

Last year, it was an innovatively designed – and fully functional -concrete speaker that caught the eyes (and ears) of the jury. This year, a pair of tinted cement rings set fetchingly with gemstones and shaped into organic forms inspired by human anatomy – our bones, to be precise – have stolen the show! Their creator, Mignon Daubermann, hasscooped prize money to the tune of R150 000 after being announced as the Overall Winner of the 2015/2016 PPC Imaginarium Awards!

Daubermann’s victory was announced at a Gala Event held at UJ Art Gallery in Aukland Park, Johannesburg, on Thursday 03 March 2016. Her stellar pieces shone their way to the top after first being selected as a Finalist out of 660 entries, and then going on to win the Jewellery Category Prize. Before being selected as the Overall Winner of the competition, Daubermann’s entry competed against the other four Category Winners across the disciplines of Film, Industrial Design, Fashion and Sculpture(there was no Architecture Category winner this year).

The PPC Imaginarium Awards challenges its entrants to innovate with cement and use concrete as a medium of expression.Daubermann’s intriguing, conceptually-related rings play on the idea that both concrete and human bones are resilient as well as fundamental for the strength of the entire physical entity – be it a human body or structure.

Her concept, execution and “unique technical use of pigmented concrete and silver” are what impressed the judges. According to this independent jury, consisting of industry heavyweights such as Cathy O’Clery of Platform Creative Agency and renowned Fine Artists Stephen Hobbs and Wilma Cruise,to name but a few, Daubermann’s rings show a “simplicity and elegance of design” that is both “refined and conceptual, eye-catching and beautiful!”

Winning this prize will no doubt rapidly accelerate thefledgling career of this young and now rising star – which is indeed one of the focal pointsof this unique competition. The PPC Imaginarium offers mentorship and exposure opportunties alongside a cash component so significant that it is the country’s richest art and design competition– cementing PPC Ltd’s reputation as a serious patron of the arts. PPC Ltd has long been recognised for its ongoing support of  South African creativity  and is a previous recipient of several BASA awards.

Last year, as with this year, R500 000 in prize money went to theOverall Winner, Category Winners and Runners-Up. The iconic company has already commited to a further round of the competition, which opens for entry in April 2016. Previous winners have used the substantial prize money to start up design studios or invest in much-needed equipment and machinery. Others, like last year’s Film Category winners, have gone on to represent local filmmaking on the international film festival circuit. It still remains to be seen how the latest, recently crownedchampion will invest in her own trajectory…

All of this attests to the validity of the PPC Imaginarium Awards and their relevance in the South African art and design context as a platformfor promoting emerging talent. In addition, the competition has a core focus on innovation. It looks to the future of cement and seeks to progressively further the role of concrete in our society because it is one of the key components of our current and projected built environments. The PPC Imaginarium Awards are spearheaded by PPC Ltd’s own Innovation Department, and are the brainchild of resident architect and respected academic Daniel Van Der Merwe.

Says Van der Merwe: “We would like to extend our congratulations to Mignon Daubermann for exceeding the expectations of concrete in such a captivating way with these pieces of wearable art. And because the standard of this year’s entries isexceptional, we need to particularly acknowledge all the finalists and cordially invite the public to come and appreciate theirstimulating, excitingwork!”

To view the PPC Imaginarium exhibition, visit the UJ Art Gallery until 26 March 2016, or the Pretoria Arts Association from 01-12 April 2016.

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Image: Mignon Daubermann’s winning design