Calling all artists with expressions unbound

Entries are now officially open for the annual Sasol New Signatures Art Competition 2023.

For the past 33 years, the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition, founded by the Association of Arts Pretoria in the 1960’s, has been a beacon for unbridled creativity and artistic exploration within the visual arts ecosystem in South Africa.

“Expressions Unbound, the call for entries slogan, not the theme, for the 2023 edition of the competition, is a phrase that embodies the competition’s long-standing commitment to providing a space where emerging artists can display the fullness of their imaginative potential and self-expression. Expressions Unbound champions the unrestricted artistic narration of personal and collective stories that are relevant to our times” said Sasol New Signatures’ chairperson, Pfunzo Sidogi.

Sasol New Signatures has become synonymous with supporting and developing South Africa’s contemporary art scene, as well as increasing exposure for emerging South African art and artists.  This annual competition is open to all South African artists over 18 years who have not yet held a solo exhibition. Artists who have held a solo exhibition for academic purposes (a master’s degree exhibition for example) are allowed to enter. Artists can submit their artworks in all artistic mediums – painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video and installations.

“With this competition, we want to encourage artists to take risks, try new techniques, and push themselves beyond their comfort zones in pursuit of artistic excellence.  We want them to showcase transformative use of materials, using unconventional or non-traditional techniques, materials, and forms to create works of art that challenge traditional boundaries and expectations” added Sidogi.

“Sasol is proud to be a key sponsor, together with the Association of Arts Pretoria, of this prestigious South African competition.  Throughout its long history, the competition has launched the careers of countless artists who have gone on to build highly successful and significant profiles, both locally and internationally. While winning the competition should be the ultimate goal for all entrants, being selected as one of the finalists is a significant milestone and Sasol is delighted to be part of this exciting journey for so many emerging South African artists,” said Nozipho Mbatha, Senior Manager: Group Brand and Sponsorships at Sasol.

Over the coming weeks chairperson Sidogi and Sasol’s Art Curator, Cate Terblanche will be hosting informative online how-to tutorials with accompanying downloadable fact sheets to assist entrants in submitting their artworks.  The video tutorials topics will include:

  • Entry requirements
  • Preparing artwork for the competition (pricing, framing, signatures, weight restrictions etc)
  • How to write CVs, biographies, and artist statements
  • What makes a winning work

Entrants are encouraged to view these videos to ensure that their submissions are of the high standard required.   “We hope that these videos will assist entrants in not only submitting superior quality work, but also give them valuable tools that they will continue to use in their artistic careers going forward”, said Terblanche.

Contemporary, innovative and emerging artists are invited to submit their artworks at one of several collection points around the country on Tuesday, June 6 and Wednesday, June 7 from 10:00 to 16:00. A completed entry form and supporting documentation must be submitted along with the artworks.

The winner of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition will be announced on Wednesday September 6. The winner will receive R100 000 and a solo exhibition at next year’s exhibition. The runner up will receive R25 000 and the five merit award winners will each walk away with R10 000.

The 2022 Sasol New Signatures winner Mondli Mbhele will hold his first solo exhibition alongside the official Sasol New Signatures 2023 exhibition. Titled, Ingoma Yothando (Song of Love), Mbhele will explore the idea of rituals which accompany important events in life such birth, puberty, marriage, death, and the songs that accompany these occasions.

The Sasol New Signatures exhibition will take place at the Pretoria Art Museum from September 7 to October 31.

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