Taxi art en­tries judged

SA Taxi Foun­da­tion Art Award gives artists a chance to shine

The Witness - Wheels - - VETERANS -

EN­TRIES for the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion Art Award closed on Fe­bru­ary 13, and semi-fi­nal­ists this year can ex­pect to have their work ex­hib­ited at Lizamore & As­so­ciates gallery in the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion Art Award Ex­hi­bi­tion and will be in­cluded in a cat­a­logue pro­duced to doc­u­ment the pro­ject.

This year the main award is worth an im­pres­sive R700 000 and in­cludes a cash amount of R50 000, while the top five fi­nal­ists will each re­ceive an award to the value of R660 000 in­clud­ing a R10 000 cash prize.

The prizes in­clude pro­duc­tion of the artists’ de­signs as de­cals, each to be car­ried by 10 taxis on na­tional routes for a pe­riod of six months, as well as an ex­ten­sive pub­lic­ity cam­paign aimed at cre­at­ing na­tional aware­ness of their work to kick-start their pro­fes­sional ca­reers.

The SA Taxi Foun­da­tion Art Award there­fore adds sig­nif­i­cant mo­men­tum for emerg­ing artists try­ing to build a sus­tain­able ca­reer.

Won by Tshepo Mosopa in 2015 and Au­drey An­der­son in 2016, the award has seen the work of 12 fi­nal­ists grace 120 taxis that trans­port hun­dreds of thou­sands of South Africans to and from work daily. As a re­sult, the work has been viewed by mil­lions of South Africans, whether as taxi com­muters or other road users, caus­ing a buzz wher­ever it is spot­ted.

Fine Art con­sul­tant and in­dus­try pro­fes­sional, Taryn Cohn, said the art award pro­vides a great step­ping stone for artists as they are tested in a num­ber of ways.

In 2016, the pro­ject gar­nered a Busi­ness and Art South Africa (Basa) award in the First Time Spon­sor cat­e­gory. As the only long-term mar­riage of art, de­sign, and the taxi in­dus­try, it is cited as one of the most in­no­va­tive projects to emerge from the art sec­tor in some time.

Newly ap­pointed di­rec­tor for the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion and se­nior man­ager, trans­for­ma­tion for SA Taxi, Lis­hani Letch­miah, said the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion Art Award is unique in its com­bi­na­tion of fine and graphic art, will con­tinue to be the Foun­da­tion’s sin­gle big­gest in­di­vid­ual pro­ject, look­ing to fur­ther im­por­tant goals of diver­sity, mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, and the em­pow­er­ment of small busi­ness.

Teresa Lizamore, di­rec­tor of Lizamore & As­so­ciates Gallery that is man­ag­ing the award, said the gallery has just hosted a solo ex­hi­bi­tion of 2015 win­ner Tshepo Mosopa, while the 2016 win­ner, Au­drey An­der­son, has suc­cess­fully par­tic­i­pated in a num­ber of in­dus­try projects, ex­hi­bi­tions, and com­pe­ti­tions. “Many of the artists go on to be ac­cepted and sup­ported by the con­tem­po­rary fine art in­dus­try, which is a great pat on the back for the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion and shows the in­dus­try’s sup­port for this unique art award.”

The en­tries will be judged by Ernes­tine White, the cu­ra­tor of Con­tem­po­rary Art at Iziko’s South African Na­tional Gallery in Cape Town.

Her ex­pe­ri­ence within the arts and cul­ture sec­tor spans a pe­riod of 15 years.

White spent a decade liv­ing in the United States and in 2001 re­turned to South Africa to com­plete her stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Cape Town.

White holds a Bach­e­lors de­gree in Fine Art, an Hon­ours de­gree in Cu­ra­tor­ship, a Mas­ter Printer de­gree in Fine Art Lithog­ra­phy as well as a Masters de­gree in Fine Art. — WR.

‘Many of the artists go on to be ac­cepted and sup­ported by the con­tem­po­rary fine art in­dus­try, which is a great pat on the back for the SA Taxi Foun­da­tion …’

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Self-taught artist Wandile Mashaba (27), a fi­nal­ist in the 2016 Taxi art award, said his art­work rep­re­sents the com­plex­ity of daily life.

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