Taxi art entries judged
SA Taxi Foundation Art Award gives artists a chance to shine
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 …’
Self-taught artist Wandile Mashaba (27), a finalist in the 2016 Taxi art award, said his artwork represents the complexity of daily life.