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How limitless is your artistic reach?

25 March 2019

Entries are now officially open for the annual Sasol New Signatures Art Competition.  Being the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa, Sasol New Signatures has over the years provided a platform for unknown artists to break into the mainstream.  In 2019 Sasol celebrates 30 years of sponsoring the competition.  Elton Fortuin, Sasol Vice President for Group Communication and Brand Management said: “Over the last three decades of Sasol’s involvement, working in partnership with the Association of Arts Pretoria, the competition has produced deserving winners, many of whom are now household names in the South African and global art world”. 

This annual competition is open to all South African artists who are 18 years and older who have not yet held a solo exhibition. Artists who have held a solo exhibition for academic purposes, i.e. a Master’s Degree exhibition, are allowed to enter. Artists are able to submit artworks in all artistic mediums including photography, performance art, video and installations.

Since 2001, the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition has hosted Information Sessions for potential entrants, with the aim of giving them the opportunity to gain much needed technical information regarding format, size, media and layout of entered works, as well as valuable advice regarding the presentation of competition standard work.  Acclaimed artist, judge and Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Dr Pieter Binsbergen, said: “The Information Sessions offer a platform for entrants to understand the genre in which the competition falls, in order to remain internationally recognised as cutting edge. Taking the form of an informal panel discussion regarding trends in contemporary visual communication, artists have the opportunity to pose questions regarding the conceptual process and execution of their proposed entries. Discussions will centre on the choice of mode, the challenges of concept and form meeting materiality, and the end product functioning as vehicle for contemporary visual communication”.

There are also national Feedback Sessions, where those entering the competition are given feedback on the spot by the judges as to why certain entries were accepted and others not.

“Sasol is aware of the benefits of visual art and the impact it has on social justice and cohesion as well as encouraging artists to be fearless in their artistry, challenging society to evaluate the lenses through which it views the world and to strive for a limitless approach to contemporary art.  Artists no longer just contemplate life, but rather they engage, they comment on and seek to challenge existing ideas, as well as established artistic practices. Today’s artists work in a culturally diverse global environment aided by an even faster changing technological environment” added Elton Fortuin. 

Contemporary, innovative and emerging artists with winning aspirations are invited to submit their artworks at one of several collection points around the country between 10h00 and 16h00 on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 and Wednesday, 19 June 2019. The winner of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition will be announced on 21 August at a gala event, after which the winning works will be displayed at the prestigious Pretoria Art Museum from Thursday, 22 August 2019 to Sunday, 29 September 2019. The winner will receive R100 000 and a solo exhibition at next year’s exhibition, with the runner up winning R25 000 and the five merit award winners receiving R10 000 each.   

Jessica Kapp, 2018 winner, will hold her first solo exhibition within the official Sasol New Signatures exhibition.  Kapp had this to say to artists thinking of entering in 2019: “Put your best foot forward and enter! There is nothing to lose and so much to gain by putting yourself out there, and exposing your work to a larger audience. It is an amazing platform and you learn a lot about yourself and your aspirations”.

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