Hall of fame | Hanneke Benadé

Hanneke Benadé has come a long way since she matriculated from the Pro Arte High School in Pretoria in 1989. Since then she has completed her BA (Fine Art) at the University of Pretoria (majoring in graphic printing and lithography) undertaken a stretch of lecturing and most impressively received a Sasol New Signatures Judges' Award in 1993.

With her practice a priority, Benadé turned her attention to becoming a full-time artist and held her first solo exhibition Local Girls, in 1996. This was followed up with other national and international exhibitions, as well as a three month residency at the Cité des Arts Internationale in Paris (1999). In 2010, she returned to Paris where she visited the lithography studio A’telier Jean Pons and worked with Babette Pons to create lithographic prints as part of the Rendezvous, Focus Lithograph Project. Her work can be found in a number of collections including the Sasol Art Collection, ABSA Bank Art Collection and the University of Stellenbosch's Sasol Museum. Benadé now lives in Robertson in the Western Cape where we asked her to reflect on the Sasol New Signatures competition. 

What impact did the Sasol New Signatures Judges' Award have on your career?          

It immediately made people notice my art as 26 years ago there were not many prestigious art competitions in South Africa. I entered a work which I honestly knew was my best work. I was very determined to win the competition and to be seen. I was also very young then, only 21 and fearless.   It was a big deal winning such a competition and the award certainly gave me some recognition.

How has your relationship with Sasol New Signatures continued over the past quarter of a century and which artists have impressed you? 

I feel like part of a special Sasol family and I look forward to each year’s competition.  I can single out Mohau Modisakeng, the 2011 winner and Nelmarie du Preez who took the top honours in 2015.

You have stood as a regional judge - what can you tell us about that experience?

I was on the regional selection committee in Stellenbosch a couple of years ago, and it was very interesting to see the entries.  

What have you achieved since winning the competition?  

I won merit awards in several art competitions since, showed extensively and established my art career. I am a full-time artist and dedicated to my practice.        

What advice do you have for other artists ,young or old, wanting to build their career as an artist?

My mother, Ada Liefbroer, started her art career at age 72 with the same determination I had at age 21. She never had the time to pursue a career, but she finally did so. She is making art full-time now and is very prolific. So, it is never too old to start. The challenge is to keep going and if you have nothing to lose you become fearless.