Stellenbosch student wins Sasol New Signatures 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Stellenbosch-based artist, Jessica Storm Kapp, 22, has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. 

Kapp won the coveted award for her rammed earth columns and embedded object installation piece titled Mapping Time. The artwork investigates whether fine art can evoke multisensory experiences of home through the use of retrieved objects and materials. These objects have value both because of the site from which they were taken as well as their intrinsic value as traces of dwelling - reconstructing fragments of retrieved objects and materials in an attempt to illustrate concepts such as loss, trace, place attachment and reflection. 

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

As the winner of Sasol New Signatures, Kapp walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2019, which will mark Sasol’s 30th year sponsoring South Africa’s longest running art competition. 

Acclaimed artist, judge and Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Prof Pieter Binsbergen, said: “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”.  

Coming in second place was Cape Town artist Peter Mikael Campbell.  He wins for his work in pencil titled, Kaisen, which means, “change for better” in Japanese. 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 5 Merit Award Winners are: 

Kelly Crouse - Port Elizabeth
Medication:  C₂₃H₂₇N₃O₇
Mixed media

Debbie Fann - Port Elizabeth
Cheque or Savings?
Acrylic and digital print on paper

Pierre Henri Le Riche - Cape Town
Ap(peal) I & Ap(peal) II
Porcelain, Egyptian cotton, yellowwood, plywood, glass

Mulatedzi Simon Moshapo - Polokwane
The leader shall govern

Megan Serfontein - University of Stellenbosch
Monitor, webcam, personal computer programme

Each Merit Award winner received a R10 000 cash prize.

It is often said that art has no limits. This is because a true artist’s imagination has no boundaries; it is limitless. It is this distinctive feature of South African contemporary art that this year’s Sasol New Signatures art competition celebrates.

“On behalf of Sasol, we congratulate all the winners and wish them all the best. May you continue to be fearless in your artistry, challenging society to evaluate the lenses through which it views the world. It is by doing so that you unconsciously give others the permission to be boundless in their pursuit of their happiness and purpose. Be limitless.” said Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. 

Lebohang Kganye, winner of 2017, will hold her first solo exhibition, titled Mohlokomedi wa Tora (Lighthouse Keeper), that will run in conjunction with the 2018 Sasol New Signatures exhibition from 30 August until 7 October, at the Pretoria Art Museum. The exhibition will also feature the 2018 winner, runner up and five merit award winners as well as 87 finalists, all of whom are included in the highly respected competition catalogue.