Sky’s the limit in Sasol New Signatures this year

Last year’s Sasol New Signatures winner Lebohang Kganye
Last year’s Sasol New Signatures winner Lebohang Kganye

Entries for the prestigious Sasol New Signatures competition have opened, and with this comes the opportunity for emerging contemporary artists to make a name for themselves nationally and perhaps even internationally.

Held annually in partnership with the Association of Arts Pretoria, the competition is open to all South African artists who are 18 years and older, and have not yet held a solo exhibition.

Artists may submit works in all mediums – whether painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, performance art, video or installations.

“The competition has been alive and running for close on half a century, not only becoming South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious art competition, but also developing criteria to judge the merits of art works, namely the artistic concept, the use of materials, the quality of craft and demonstrated skills,” Association of Arts Pretoria director Pieter van Heerden said.

This year’s theme is “limitless” as artists are encouraged through the competition to adopt a limitless approach to contemporary art.

Information sessions will be held across the country from the end of this month, including in the Eastern Cape, to educate emerging artists on how to produce and submit winning work, thus contributing to improving the quality of entries every year.

There will also be national feedback sessions at various selection points. Artists who have submitted their works will have the opportunity to understand from the judges why certain entries were accepted and others not.
The aim is to help guide them on how best to further better their art.
Artists may submit works at one of several national collection points (to be announced) between 10am and 4pm on Monday and Tuesday July 2 and 3.

The final round of judging will take place at the Pretoria Art Museum on Wednesday August 8, with the overall winner to be announced on August 29 at a gala event.
Thereafter winning works will be displayed at the Pretoria Art Museum from August 30 to October 7.
The overall winner will receive R100000 and a solo exhibition at next year’s exhibition, with the runner-up winning R25000 and the five merit award winners each receiving R10000. The Eastern Cape has yielded numerous winners over the years.

On winning top honours last year, Lebohang Kganye said: “I don’t know if anything prepares you for winning such a competition and for the aftermath of receiving an award like this. It is quite a surreal experience – almost like I was looking in from the outside.”
Since winning the competition, the Johannesburg-based artist has shown her work at prestigious local and international events such as the Design Indaba. As part of her prize, she will also be presenting her solo exhibition this year.

Sasol has been collecting artworks by home-grown talent since the early 1980s, and has an impressive corporate collection of art and sculpture.
Sasol executive vice-president of corporate affairs and human resources Charlotte Mokoena said: “Art is so powerful and makes an invaluable contribution to society by creating platforms for engagement within communities.
“Art has the potential to inspire, challenge and heal.”

  • The Eastern Cape information session is on Thursday April 19 at 11am at Walter Sisulu University in East London. Limited seats are available, so booking is essential – contact Nandi Hilliard on (012)346-3100, 083-288-5117 or e-mail More competition details can be found at: