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Art is a personal quest for quality: A look at 2013 art competitions

Posted on April 8, 2013.

South Africa boasts various prestigious art competitions promising to launch the art careers of emerging artists into international acclaim. Competitions offer artists the opportunity to expand their horizons with prizes including international residencies and cash prizes. Artcoza explored what 2013 art competitions have to offer.

Sanlam Private Investments National Portrait Award

Sanlam Private Investments, in collaboration with Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery, Durbanville, has initiated South Africa's first National Portrait Award. R100 000 will be awarded for the best portrait.

The competition is open to anyone resident in South Africa older than 21 years. Entries close on 19 August 2013. Artists are challenged to enter works which exemplify their ability in the medium of their choice, excluding lens-based media (photography, video, etc).

A panel of three judges will identify the winning portrait, and select additional works for the national touring exhibition. All works will be judged anonymously as artists are requested not to sign the work. The panel is convened by Stefan Hundt, head of the Sanlam Private Investments Art Advisory Service, and Curator of the Sanlam Art Collection.

The award ceremony will take place on 27 August 2013 at the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery, Durbanville, where the winning portrait and a selection of approximately 40 selected works will be on exhibition and open for public viewing from 28 August 2013 until 8 October 2013. The exhibition will tour to venues around South Africa in collaboration with the Sanlam Art Collection and VISI magazine.

For more information, visit www.spiportraitaward.co.za

Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award

One of South Africa's oldest national fine art awards, The Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award is presented in August/September to correspond with the month in which Thami Mnyele's remains were re-buried in Tembisa, South Africa. Mnyele was a freedom fighter who used art as a tool of expression during the struggle for liberation. He died while exiled in Botswana in 1985.

The competition is open to artists of all ages and categories include multimedia and new media, painting, art on paper and sculpture. A non-refundable entry fee of R50 an artwork is required. The works must have been completed in the 12 months prior to the competition. Previous winners include 2012 winner Lwandiso Njara and 2011 winner Jenna Burchell.

The award competition began in 1987 and was originally called the Kempton Park Tembisa National Fine Arts Award. Following the changing of municipality names it became later became known as the Ekurhuleni National Fine Arts Award. In celebrating its 21st birthday in 2009, the City of Ekurhuleni renamed the competition in admiration of the acclaimed resistance artist. The competition serves as a platform where artists are encouraged to transcend limitations, reconfigure and manipulate contemporary cultural social and political signs.

The awards ceremony will be held on 21 September 2013 at Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Kempton Park. The prizes include a cash first prize and an Ekurhuleni prize awarded to the best artwork by an artist from Ekurhuleni. Merit awards will be presented to the best entries in each category.

Works may be entered between 20 - 22 August 2013 between 09:00 - 19:00 at the Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Mooifontein Road, Birchleigh North Kempton Park. Satellite entry points are also available at Boksburg Library Auditorium, Springs Art Gallery and Katlehong Art Centre.

Visit for VANSA for more information on how to enter.

Sasol New Signatures Art Competition

Now in its 24th year, the 2013 Sasol New Signatures art competition aims at celebrating the immense talent that exists in the country, while providing a reputable platform for artists to showcase their work and build their profile in the industry.

The competition winner will receive R60 000 in cash, as well as the unique opportunity to have a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum. The runner-up will receive a cash prize of R20 000 and the five merit winners will each be awarded R5 000.

The finalists' work will be judged by a panel of highly esteemed judges lead by award-winning artist and art instructor, Peter Binsbergen, Chairman of Sasol New Signatures art competition's judging panel. With a record of 18 hugely successful solo exhibitions and works, which have been showcased in both South Africa and abroad, Binsbergen knows first-hand what it takes to be successful in the industry.

Final judging takes place on Monday 12 August 2013. Regional judges will select approximately 100 works which will be exhibited at the final judging on Monday 12 August 2013 and then as part of the Sasol New Signatures exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum from 28 August until 13 October 2013.

Download entry form.

"We are looking for artists who represent authenticity, innovation and perceptiveness. South Africa's art industry is continuing to evolve and grow. The competition not only welcomes traditional art forms but we also encourage participants who represent the more contemporary aspects of visual art including digital and even performance art," said Binsbergen.

Sasol will also provide university students with a valuable educational opportunity through its national information sessions. These sessions aim to equip students with knowledge around the judging process, insights into the competition, advice on conceptualization, display and presentation of work.

New, innovative artists who believe they have what it takes to make an impact in the industry are encouraged to submit one or two artworks at one of several collection points around the country between Tuesday, 2 July 2013 and Wednesday, 3 July 2013. The competition is open to artists who are 18 and older and have not held a solo exhibition (a body of at least 20 works exhibited in a commercial gallery) except for academic purposes.

For more information, visit www.artsassociationpta.co.za or contact the Association of Arts Pretoria on 012 346 3100.

Absa L'Atelier Art Competition

The Absa L'Atelier Competition, one of South Africa's most the longest running national arts competition open to young and emerging artists between the ages of 21 and 35, starts its preparation in March 2013.

The top two artists win a range of prizes, including cash, as well as the opportunity to study at the Cite Internationale Des Arts in Paris. Two merit award winners will be chosen to win prizes of a residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New York and at the Sylt Foundation on the Island of Sylt in Germany respectively. There is also a fourth prize, sponsored by the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise.

Download entry form.

To help promote the 2013 competition, Absa undertook an experiment to see whether there was a substitute for real experience of a residency. Working with its Johannesburg advertising agency, The Jupiter Drawing Room, they hypnotised young artists and told them they were within residencies in Paris, New York or on the Island of Sylt, places they had never visited before. While under hypnosis and believing they were in these cities, they were told to create artworks showing what they saw. See the interesting results at www.absalatelier.co.za/videos.html.

Absa and its partner, SANAVA (South African National Association for the Visual Arts), through the Absa L'Atelier art competition have launched the careers of many South African artists who have become household names on a global level such as Penny Siopis, Diane Victor, Kevin Roberts, Conrad Botes, amongst others. View the 2012 winners

The closing date for entries in all regions is 8 March 2013. Works must be submitted between 4 and 8 March 2013. Preliminary selection will take place at the ten regional centres from 11 - 22 March 2013. For more information, go to www.absalatelier.co.za


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