Nelmarie du Preez wins 2015 Sasol New Signatures art competition

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nelmarie du Preez wins 2015 Sasol New Signatures art competition 

Pretoria-based artist Nelmarie du Preez is the winner of the 2015 Sasol New Signatures art competition. Du Preez scooped the award for her work titled ‘to shout’, which offers a unique perspective into people’s ability to alter their persona using social media.  

The performance was taken from her Loops in Relation series and is inspired by the work of iconic performance artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay. 

Sasol New Signatures is an initiative of the Association of Arts Pretoria and is recognised as the longest running art competition of its kind in South Africa. 

This year, Sasol celebrates 26 years as the main sponsor, playing a pivotal role in unearthing new talent and providing a platform from which emerging artists can launch their careers. Sasol New Signatures is open to South African artists above the age of 18. This must be emerging artists who have never had a solo exhibition. 

This year’s theme for the competition was "An Eye for Potential”, challenging emerging artists to submit artworks that demonstrate their ability to see beyond what the naked eye can see. 

‘to shout’ is a collaborative artwork depicting an interaction between du Preez and ‘GUI’ ( a graphical user interface) who in part, takes the form of du Preez’s digital alter-ego or male-other. In this piece, which is in the form of a video documented performance, the two performers set out to re-interpret the work of Abramovic and Ulay’s AAA-AAA from 1978.

The artist recorded herself screaming the word “aaa” at different intensities which was filtered through different algorithms to which GUI responds. In the piece computer technology is used to record and shift the pitch of du Preez’s voice to a lower register in order to create ‘GUI’s’ voice. 

This piece offers a unique perspective into people’s ability to alter their persona using social media. “The advent on social media platforms has enabled people to create new identities for themselves which can at times have no relation to reality,” said du Preez. 

Although born and raised in Pretoria, du Preez splits her time between South Africa and the United Kingdom. She holds a Masters in Fine and Computational Art from Goldsmiths University in London, and a BA in Audio Visual Multimedia from the University of South Africa where she graduated Magna Cum Lade for an Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts.


Art lovers and enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the Pretoria Art Museum from 3 September to 4 October 2015 to view the Sasol New Signatures art exhibition. The exhibition will also include 2014 winner Elizabeth Balcomb’s solo exhibition titled ‘Auguries of Innocence’.

For more information visit www.sasolnewsignatures.co.za or contact Nandi Hilliard from the Association of Arts Pretoria on 012 346 3100 or artspta@mweb.co.za.