Winners Circle

Winner 2018
Merit Award
Debbie Fan

Acrylic and digital print on paper
Diptych: (2) 240 cm x 90 cm

This diptych consists of two panels, one digitally printed and the other hand painted. In this work, Fan offers commentary on what she terms ‘cultural consumerism’. Working as a waitress in her family owned Chinese restaurant the artist is bombarded with an abundance of bills, receipts and credit card print outs on a daily basis.  For the artist, the receipt became a metaphor for the sale of her own culture and identity. 

The large scale of these receipts become overwhelming to the viewer as they are usually considered as something trivial or mundane in the act of purchase and sale.  The two oversized receipts thus create a paradoxical play on Chinese cultural stereotypes the artist faces in contemporary consumerist culture.

Merit Award
Pierre Henri Le Riche

Ap(peal) I & Ap(peal) II
Porcelain, Egyptian cotton, yellowwood, plywood, glass
Diptych: (2) 160 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm

This installation comprises two porcelain bells which are each displayed on a plinth made of repurposed shipping crates, and are encased in glass boxes.  The bells, which are replicas of slave bells seen at various Cape Dutch homesteads, were deformed during the slip-casting and bisque firing process, and were subsequently restored through the use of embroidery.  The end product clearly offers commentary on pressing socio-cultural issues that the younger generation in South Africa are dealing with.

Merit Award
Mulatedzi Simon Moshapo

The leader shall govern
Wood
90 cm x 120 cm x 90 cm

As the tile leads the viewer to believe, this work deals with political power struggles that, according to the artist, “plague Africa for centuries”.  The work offers historical commentary on hegemony which forces some minority cultural groups to seek exile in neighbouring countries.  The conceptual underpinning of the work is further strengthened by allowing the viewer(s) multiple access point into a ‘chaotic’ narrative that is honest, and delightful in its visual complexity. 

While traditional South African woodcarving seems to have lost impetus in contemporary visual art in recent years, Moshapo offers a new and innovative approach to this traditional craft that shows high levels of skill and craftsmanship.  At this level, the execution of the piece, including its detail, seems to transcend the material it is made from.

Merit Award
Megan Serfontein

Untitled
Monitor, webcam, personal computer programme
170 cm x 57 cm x 62,5 cm

It is clear that Serfontein draws on viewer interaction in order to ‘complete’ this ever-changing artwork that is never static or dormant.  In this manner, the viewer becomes the subject and the artwork simultaneously, and their image will remain for a while after they disengage from the artwork and move on.  This is done to not only query the societal outlooks on digital identities as gimmicks and games, but also to underpin the underlying unease present in recording oneself with or without consent, and thereby imprinting oneself therein.Some parts are sanded down to create a fading effect emphasising the rawness of the wood which symbolises the unfinished business of those who wander through the halls.

Winner
Jessica Storm Kapp

Jessica Storm Kapp is a creative predominantly working within the field of Fine Art. Being a collector of things, the action of retrieval as well as the histories attached to found objects are central themes in her investigations into home, following the event of the 2017 Knysna Fires. She is currently completing her undergraduate degree in Fine Art at Stellenbosch University. Through various print-making techniques, photography, sculpture and installation, Jess strives to create immersive moments in which viewers can experience the essence of place through their multiple senses.

Mapping time
Rammed earth columns and embedded object
Installation: 150 cm x 250 cm x 250 cm

This multisensory approach to sculptural installation becomes site specific to dwellings in the area of Knysna (South Africa).  It is clear that the geographical approach to the work traces space and place throughout history, culminating in the recent disastrous Knysna fires of 2017. By adopting phenomenological concepts of subjectivity, the artist attempts to create visceral experiences, showing how art is able to embody auratic qualities of home in order to create expressions of it.  Fragments of retrieved objects and materials are combined in an attempt to illustrate concepts such as loss, trace, place attachment and reflection. 

Ultimately, regarding the pressing issues of land, including pre/post, and de-colonial struggles, the work’s ability to ambiguously navigate through and around these sensitive issues makes it worthy of being the winning artwork.

Runner Up
Peter Mikael Campbell

Peter is a Cape Town based artist and owner of the Jewellery label A Bird Named Frank.  He graduated from Nelson Mandela University in 2009 with a B.Tech in Fine Art (Cum Laude).

Peter identifies himself as an artist monk and sees art as a psychological and spiritually transformative medium. His key interest is the capacity of aesthetic beauty to offer intimations of the divine and facilitate the distillation of consciousness.

Currently he is awaiting the commencement of an MFA at Michaelis under Jane Alexander.

Kaisen
Pencil
102,5 cm x 73,5 cm

Kaisen in Japanese means to ‘change for the better’. In this work Campbell aims to evoke a quiet meditation regarding the balance of opposites – in this case between simplicity and complexity- as well as the value of aesthetic beauty as a meaningful pursuit.  For the artist, the ultimate purpose for creating this work is to evoke a buffer against the tragedy woven into life. 

The attention to detail and the delicate play of tonal values evident in the process of drawing, offers this work the worthy position of runner-up. In this case, less is evidently more in underpinning the work in concept and execution.

Merit Award
Kelly Crouse

Medication:  C₂₃H₂₇N₃O₇
Mixed media
60 cm x 120 cm x 13 cm

In this bold and confrontational work, the artist traces her life journey suffering from a rare skin disease called perioral dermatitis.  At first glance, it is evident that this skin disease/disorder has resulted in escalated levels of emotional stress.  Through its diagnostic fragility of identity formation, Crouse attempts to build a visual narrative which documents and addresses the aspects that embody the emotional and physical challenges brought on by living with perioral dermatitis. 

This interdisciplinary approach to image making is seen as fresh and innovative and seems to push the boundaries of contemporary portrait painting in visual art into a new and exciting source domain.

Judges

A special thank you to our judges.

Sasol and the Association of Arts would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the Sasol New Signatures judges, both regionally and nationally, who give of their valuable time to evaluate and select the winners from the hundreds of entries received.

Thank you for your great contribution to the success of this magnificent exhibition.