The country’s richest art and design prize to support Emerging Creatives, the PPC Imaginarium Awards, has upped the ante by outstripping the inaugural round of its own competition, which was launched in 2014. The 2015/2016 awards not only garnered unprecedented attention from entrants, with a record number of 698 entries registered, but there has also been a noticeably marked improvement in the standard of the submissions. What’s more, the number of Finalists for 2015/2016 has more than doubled that of the initial year of the competition!

A total of 47 regional Finalists were selected for 2015/2016 compared to the previous year’s tally of 21 finalists from 477 registered entries. Finalists were chosen in each of the 6 entry categories, namely, Film, Sculpture, Industrial Design, Architecture, Jewellery and Fashion. Submissions were judged by a regional panel of industry heavyweights, chosen for their notable achievements in their respective sectors.

PPC Imaginarium Awards Director and well-known architect Daniel Van Der Merwe curated the regional judging panel, which toured the country to evaluate the physical, digital and film submissions in each region – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town.

The regional judges included high-profile industry personalities such as Aaron Kohn of MOAD, artist Stephen Hobbs, Cathy O’Clery of Platform Creative Agency, artist Wilma Cruise, and others. These judges were tasked with identifying the Finalists in each category, based on the strength of their submissions.

Having evolved from the longstanding PPC Young Concrete Sculptor Awards, the PPC Imaginarium Awards encourage artists and designers to create and express their abilities using Portland cement–based concrete as a primary base or material. The emphasis is placed on innovation – a criterion that has resulted in dynamic and progressive works that truly push the limits of cement and excite the imagination. Because of this emphasis, the overall quality of the 2015/2016 submissions was extremely high and the judges were hard-pressed to make decisions.

Says Van der Merwe: “We are extremely thrilled to see that not only did the the number of expressions of interest increase from last year, but also that the standard of the entries is exceptional. We can see already that the exhibition of the finalists work is going to prove exciting and stimulating for the public. 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 platform for promoting emerging talent!”

To celebrate the incredible pieces and projects that have been chosen as Finalists, the PPC Imaginarium Awards is mounting a travelling exhibition, supported by Stuttafords Van Lines, which will move from Cape Town to Johannesburg and then on to Pretoria in the first half of 2016. In the latter half of the year, the exhibition will feature at the Turbine Art Fair and at 100% Design South Africa, both in Johannesburg.

The first leg of the travelling exhibition will run from 04-26 February 2016 at the Youngblood Arts & Culture Development in Cape Town, with the opening night forming part of the Mother City’s “First Thursdays” initiative. This will be the first time that the Finalists are showcased publicly.

While the PPC Imaginarium Awards can indeed be lauded for offering the country’s richest cash prize ever for an arts competition (boasting over R500 000 in prize money), the awards are even more remarkable for their primary ambition of providing a nurturing launch platform for the Finalists and winners – with the aim of establishing them as leaders in their field. The PPC Imaginarium Awards cement the parent company PPC Ltd’s position as one of the largest and most exciting promoters and patrons of the arts and design in South Africa, a company that has previously been awarded for its innovation and support of the arts.

Entries were open to South African citizens, residency permit holders, as well as foreign students with study permits – anyone not yet professionally established in their field. Entries by individuals as well as team collaborations were allowed. Artists and designers could enter multiple categories with an original artwork for each category.

Each category winner will receive R50 000 while the runner–up walks away with R15 000. Thereafter, each category winner stands a further chance to receive the overall grand prize of R100 000. In addition to the monetary incentives, category winners will also receive opportunities and mentorship from various thought leaders in their respective industries.

The winners in each competition category were judged by a national judging panel convened on 01 February 2016, and the category winners were announced at the opening event on 04 February 2016, as follows:


Category winner: Kyle Goulden

Runner-up: Francois Knoetze and Zara Julius

Category winner: Hester Erasmus


Category winner: August de Wet

Runner-up: Ivan Brown


Category winner: Janna Kruger

Runner-up: Esther Pohl


Category winner: Mignon Dauberman

The much-anticipated overall competition winner – who takes home the grand prize of R100 000 – will be announced at a Gala Evening at the UJ Gallery at the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park on 03 March 2016. The exhibition will be on show there until 28 March 2016 before moving to Pretoria Arts Association from 01 to 12 April 2016.

The full list of 2016 Finalists, classified per category, is as follows:


Justus van der Hoven

Charl van der Westhuizen

FILM (4)

Kyle Goulden

Lutho Somdyala

Zara Julius

Heidi Salzwedel


Eduard Claassen

Malcolm Baillie

Sam Pellissier

Nicky van den Aardweg

August de Wet

Gordon Froud

Hannelie Coetzee

Ivan Brown

Marco Ranieri


Dries Fourie

Ester Pohl

Janice Judd

Janna Kruger

Marnus Havenga

Peter Campbell

Thamsanqa Tonga

Wonder Shangase

Mziwoxolo Makalima

Phiwokwakhe Tshona

Kgaogelo Mashilo

Kyra Simone Pape

Marina Walsh

Nkhensani Rihlampfu

Sharleene Olivier

Chantelle Chambers

Delene Human

Mieke Vermeulen


Janine Canfield

Lianne Tyler

Zakiti Bhengu

Marna de Wet

Bathusi Adolphus Maqina

Carike Nel

Hester Erasmus


Nicola Savage

S’bhekile Ndlangisa

Angie Bergman

Coenraad Oelofse

Edna de Bruyn

Sonja Zytkow

Mignon Daubermann

Now that the 2015/2016 round of entries has closed, the call for entry for the PPC Imaginarium 2016/2017 will open on Friday, 01 April 2016. Individual or team entries may be submitted, and artists and designers may enter multiple categories, with an original artwork for each category.

For more information about the PPC Imaginarium Awards or to view the digital gallery of the finalists work, please visit

Image: Daniel van der Merwe of PPC presents a certificate of recognition to fashion category winner Hester Erasmus Photo: Michaela Irving for SA Art Times