The regional judging teams have been hard at work across South Africa, assessing 604 entries from the regions and selecting 94 works for the shortlist for this year’s Sasol new Signatures Art Competition.

A prominent feature of this art competition is the opportunity for entrants to attend feedback sessions, encouraging artists to learn, evolve and progress in their career development.

At the Johannesburg feedback session, Professor Pieter Binsbergen, National Chair said: “It is encouraging to see quality raw talent vying for inclusion in the Sasol New Signatures catalogue, which is eagerly anticipated by international art enthusiasts who are sitting up and paying attention to our artists.”

Sasol New Signatures is South Africa’s longest standing art competition and is an important developmental journey for emerging artists. This year’s entries engaged with topical issues relating to  the impact of social media, identity politics, the environment, gender and challenges around political and social justice. Judge Ashley Walters from Whow Studios in Durbanville said: “Identity and belonging is still strong throughout many works, including specifically land and ownership”. Stellenbosch Judge Isabel Mertz concurred: “Strong narratives were identity, place/space attachment and displacement”.

Judging a large number of entries of diverse mediums is a demanding brief but the judges consistently adhered to three different criteria when judging, namely: concept, technique and presentation and successful pieces were well conceptualized, well executed and well presented. The selection process is rigorous and the National Chair Professor Binsbergen who focussed on upholding standards and arbitration said: “I’m excited to see who comes out tops this year. Whoever wins will be the creator of a world-class contemporary artwork”.

The national judging panel now has a busy and exciting time ahead of them as they focus on the shortlisted entries and start their search for the seven finalists. On Wednesday 29 August the winner of Sasol New Signatures competition will be announced at a ceremony held at the Pretoria Art Museum. Prize money in this competition is substantial with the overall winner walking away with R100 000, the runner up receives R25 000 and each merit award winner takes home R10 000. The overall winner also receives the opportunity to host their first solo exhibition as part the 2019 competition.

All of the 94 finalists’ works will be displayed at the Pretoria Art Museum until 7 October 2018 and are up for sale which means art collectors can purchase excellent works at great prices and at the starting point of these emerging artists’ careers.

Ledelle Moe who sat on the panel in Cape Town said: “Although I have had the opportunity to view a fragment of the entries, I found the works compelling and insightful. This makes me very optimistic about the future generation of artists in South Africa”. 

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