RMB’s Talent Unlocked programme has extended across a diverse range of art platforms, enabling and showcasing local visual arts talent for the past two decades.
With women visual artists currently under-represented across the world but especially in South Africa, it was decided to make them the focus of the 2021 programme. The participating artists in this year’s programme went through a rigorous skills development and mentorship process, which helped them address professional practice and guide the development of a comprehensive body of work. The participating artists also received individual critique and feedback from established art mentors and peers, engaging them in in-depth coaching sessions on writing, career advancement, marketing, personal finance and sustainable business. The artists were selected through an open call, and sent in portfolios via email containing examples of their recent work. The response to the call-out was significant, with over 100 applications received. The shortlisted artists were selected by the exhibition curator, the highly respected Londi Modiko, and various RMB and other stakeholders, who had input in selecting the final 12.
Just ahead of Women’s Day, a selection of the artists’ work is being displayed in a curated exhibition opening on 7 August at Everard Read CIRCA gallery in Johannesburg. Comments Modiko: “The exhibition doesn’t have a curatorial concept because of the nature of the programme. The chosen artists body of works address various themes. The initial call-out to apply to the programme did not have a theme that the artists had to address – the programme is more about the development of the work they’ve been making prior to this and independently. But we built on the themes they’ve been working with for the CIRCA exhibition. I did notice that there is a common thread amongst most of the artists, most share personal narratives and have incorporated the concept of catharsis into their artistic content and production.“
RMB Talent Unlocked 2021 was an intensive programme, squeezed into 4 months. This year, apart from encouraging women artists, it also sought those who are process-driven and use innovative materials. The artists received individual mentorship from the exhibition curator, as well as critique and feedback on the works they were making for the group exhibition. An established artist was also invited to give feedback on the artist’s progress.
Comments RMB’s arts and creative custodian Carolynne Waterhouse: “RMB Talent Unlocked is a measurable example of the art of business leveraging learnings into the business of art. The creative economy enhances society in many ways and in addition to being visually compelling, the visual arts play a decisive and positive role in social transformation. It provides us with welcome, unedited commentary on the spirit of our time, igniting much-needed debate and hopeful solutions.”
Apart from the CIRCA exhibition opening on the 7thof August, showcasing the artworks produced during the programme, later in August will also see a further selection of these works selling on auction on Strauss & Co.’s online platform.
The following artists will be featured this year:
The exhibition officially opens on 7th August from 9:30 to 12:30, and will close on the 21st of August. A selection of works from the exhibition will go on auction at Strauss & Co and can be viewed online from the 16th to the 23rd of August