Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
3 minute read
12 Aug 2021
12:31 pm

‘OPTOG!’: What you need to know about this art competition

Renate Engelbrecht

Theatres might have run empty but Atterbury Theatre’s seats have recently been filled creatively, literally.

Anna Davel came with the suggestion of the competition. Image: Facebook

A national art competition, initiated by singer-songwriter and artist Anna Davel, has recently been launched at the Pretoria-based Atterbury Theatre, with artworks from all over the country filling the seats.

OPTOG! has collaborated with the Atterbury Theatre ito bring art lovers an exhibition of another calibre. Instead of having theatre goers enjoying live performances as they would under pre-Covid conditions, the Atterbury Theatre at Lynnwood Bridge’s chairs is currently exhibiting art that has been entered into the OPTOG! National Art Competition with the theme: My World.

Anna Davel falls back on art for income

When the Covid-19 pandemic prohibited artists from performing, Davel started utilising her painting talent for income. She might have established herself as a well-known South African singer-songwriter, but she has always been very passionate about creating art.

She even studied for two years toward a BA in art and graphic design at North-West University before kicking off her music career. It was in the initial Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 that Davel was asked to illustrate a music and poetry project (Woorde I, II and III) and due to Covid-19 instantly halting her music career, she accepted the challenge.

Lockdown afforded her the opportunity to create art full-time and to sell her artworks commercially.

Since then, Davel has had four successful online art auctions, and she has been part of two group exhibitions: Still live at Saronsberg in Tulbagh and Decadent Art Lovers in Pretoria. She has also had some of her artworks exhibited at the MOK Gallery at Muratie Wine Farm.

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Ria Kruger's painting titled DETOXING
A cropped image from entrant, Ria Kruger’s artwork titled DETOXING. Picture:

Inspirational art

Davel – who is also among the panel of judges – pitched the idea of an art competition and OPTOG! together with Atterbury Theatre soon kicked off the project by inviting South Africans to enter the national art competition.

In addition to being part of a creative and uplifting project, competition entrants also have the prospect of sharing in prize money of up to R40,000. Entries were received from all over the country, including Upington, Middelburg, Parys and Cape Town and Atterbury Theatre – with its 400 seats – has been transformed into an art gallery of note.

The art exhibition can be visited by the public between 10am and 4pm from Mondays to Fridays, but all the entered artworks have also been loaded onto OPTOG!’s website where it can be viewed virtually.

South Africans can also vote for their favourite art pieces on the site, with online voting for artworks displayed on the virtual exhibition closing on 18 August. Judges include Davel, Lize Beekman, Jak de Priester and Lilly Brannon and by the looks of things, choosing winners for the different categories will prove to be a rather difficult task.

The OPTOG! National Art Competition’s artworks are for sale, allowing appreciators of art to enjoy the colours, textures and emotions that the competition brings about, while also supporting local artists and Atterbury Theatre.

While the Atterbury Theatre is unable to host live performances, it will continue to bring warmth and emotions to art lovers and theatregoers through various alternative initiatives like this unique art exhibition.