SA Taxi Foundation art award 2017 winners announced

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Finalists cover a range of art formats, including sculpture, ceramics, and photography
The winner and five finalists of the 2016/2017 SA Taxi Foundation Art Award were announced last night at Lizamore & Associates Gallery, on the art strip in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
The winner is sculptor, Banele Khoza. The finalists are Mashudu Nevhutalu, Lebohang Kganye, Duma Mtimkulu, Mpho Mokgadi, and Jabu Nkomo.First place is awarded a cash prize of R50 000, with finalists each receiving R10 000 in cash. The hallmark of the competition is the requirement for an artist to produce an original work and then interpret it as a decal to be wrapped around a minibus taxi. Each work is carried by 10 taxis on selected routes for a year. The works are also displayed for one month at Lizamore & Associates Gallery, which partners with the SA Taxi Foundation in managing the Award. The combined exposure on the taxis and at the gallery together with all related publicity amount to a public relations value of some R600 000. This gives participating artists an introduction to the market that would otherwise be beyond their means.

Ten percent of the sales of finalists’ works is used as a scholarship for an emerging artist to attend the Artist Proof Studio (APS). The scholarship covers a year’s tuition, transport, and stationery.

The scope of this year’s Award had been expanded beyond two-dimensional original artworks to include three-dimensional works, multiples, mixed media, and digital.

“We were gratified to see that the works of the winner and the finalists represent a range of different art formats, justifying our expansion of categories for this year,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Lishani Letchmiah.

“Also interesting is that this year’s winner was among our top 30 semi-finalists in the first two years of the competition. One of this year’s finalists, Mashudu Nevhutalu, received a merit award in 2015/2016. All entries are anonymous and none of this year’s judges had participated in previous years. So, the fact that, in spite of an increase of 68% in the number of entries, artists have been independently recognised several times over the years validates the consistent quality and ingenuity of their work.

“It also illustrates the consistency of those in the South African art industry to whom we, as the general public, look for expertise and insight into the arts. We have a world class art community. The young people entering our Award have large shoes to fill. Based on the quality of their work, we believe they will do so comfortably.”

The top six works include a sculpture, a ceramic plate, and two photographic entries as well as conventional two-dimensional art. The top thirty semi-finalists include illustrations by designers and, in one case, jewellery.

Winner, Banele Khoza, has a Fine Arts degree from Tshwane University. He was among the top 100 of the 2015 and 2016 Barclays L’Atelier art competition, and studied at the London International School of Fashion for a year. In 2016, he held his first solo exhibition, at the Pretoria Art Museum and exhibited at the AKAA Art Fair, at Le Carreau du Temple, in Paris.

In 2017 he will showcase at CT Art Fair, with Smith Studio, hold his second solo exhibition, Lonely Nights, at Lizamore and Associates Gallery, curate a group exhibition, ‘Khula Ukhokhobe’, at the University of Stellenbosch Woordfees Art Festival, and participate in a group exhibition titled ‘Le jour qui vient’ at Galeries Lafayette, Paris, curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi.

Mixo Khosa will be the beneficiary of the 2017 scholarship at the APS. The SA Taxi Foundation partnership with APS focuses on the organisations’ shared objective of enhancing the economic value of art in society through the incubation and up-skilling of local artistic talent, enabling artists to derive financial benefit from their work.

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