Nature, technology and Covid-19 merge at the Sasol New Signatures 2021
Posted on 11 November 2021
Andrea du Plessis won the coveted title for her mixed media work , Paloceae Lupantozoa. The work is inspired by Martin Johnson Heade's "Orchids and Hummingbirds" series and explores humanity's complex relationship to both nature and technology. The traditional oil on canvas contains an additional Augmented Reality (AR) animation which literally brings the painting to life.
"The oil painting and AR video create a link between past and contemporary representations and experiences of nature. By juxtaposing the 19th century Romantic tradition of painting with emerging technologies, the artwork creates a tension-filled interface, momentarily transporting the viewer into a familiar yet alien world. But most crucially, experienced in its multiple modalities, the artwork offers the viewer an opportunity to reflect on their relationship with nature and our changing landscape," said du Plessis.
As the winner of Sasol New Signatures, du Plessis walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2022.
Dalli Weyers from Johannesburg received the runner-up prize of R25 000 for his work titled Forward: A manifesto which draws from social activism, art history and present uncertainties with both a cynical and hopeful outlook for the future. "[This piece] that emerged in its current iterations during the lockdown, was intent on not perpetuating an idealised, romanticised picture of scarcity and of individual, privileged domestic idyll. My anxieties often manifest in visions of apocalyptic doom. [This piece] is in response to a world that was already on fire prior to the pandemic and to which the pandemic has simply been fuel to fire."
The 5 Merit Award winners were Nico Athene for a photographic work entitled Cultivating our Unbecoming: with Gabrielle Youngleson and Johno Mellish, Michele Deeks with a pandemic inspired mixed media artwork, Sibaninzi Dlatu with A story of resiliency, a clay sculpture installation exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the poor, Eugene Mthobisi Hlophe's The new crazy normal which looks at how the pandemic has impacted education and Monica Klopper's delicate arrangement of snakeskins into a replica of her baptism dress. Each Merit Award winner received a R10 000 cash prize.
Along with the finalists exhibition, 2019 winner Patrick Rulore exhibits 15 poignant paintings in an exhbition entitled Stage 4 Moments. The series explores human connections against the backdrop of an ephemeral world of light and shadow.
"These paintings form part of my Stage 4 moments series which captures typical moments in many South African households during load shedding," Rulore says. "While it is undeniably unwelcome, load shedding has disrupted the normal scenario where individual family members are effectively isolated from each other, being immersed in the escapist realities offered by electronic devices like cellphones and televisions."
The Sasol New Signatures Art Competition finalists exhibition and Patrick Rulore's solo exhibition will run at the Pretoria Art Museum from 11 November 2021 till 9 January 2022.
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