January 2015 – Appointed this week, the judges for the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award, the latest addition to the South African arts calendar, represent a broad range of perspectives on the nature and practical expression of creativity.
They include innovation and trend specialist, Dion Chang, award-winning public performer, Donna Kukama, and internationally recognised art critic, historian, and mentor, Mary Corrigall.
“Our art competition differs from others in that we are asking emerging visual artists not simply to submit a work that relates to our 2015 theme of ‘destination’ but also to convert that work into a decal that can be used on a mini bus taxi,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Kalnisha Singh. “So, we are looking for artists who are able to work to a commercial brief.
“Invariably, to put food on the table, most artists end up having to apply their talent in commercial formats. We therefore designed our award to encourage visual artists to embrace the world of business as vehicle for their creativity. As a consequence, we needed judges who understand what it takes to succeed in both the creative and the commercial worlds.
“Also, we wanted judges with a diversity of experience and interests that would enable them to appreciate the diversity of the submissions we’re anticipating.”
Since the award was launched in September 2014, the online submission form has been downloaded some 800 times.
As one of the judges, Dion Chang, an internationally recognised South African trend analyst and owner of Flux Trends, a consulting company that specialises in understanding the ever-evolving consumer mindset and helping organisations identify the unexpected opportunities in shifting trends, will express his own passion for the capacity for innovation among young people. He has devised and hosted three trends conferences, has written three books on trends, and currently writes columns for City Press, SAA’s Sawubona magazine, and Acumen (a C-suite business quarterly for GIBS). He also has a monthly radio slot on MetroFM and a bi-weekly online radio slot with eBizRadio.
Donna Kukama, winner of the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Peformance Art, will bring to the judging of the art works insight into what it means to an emerging artist to win a major award. A faculty member at the WITS School of Arts, she focuses her work on shifting the way in which histories are narrated, memories manifested, and value systems function. The public spaces in which she functions include informal trading areas.
Her work has been presented in curated exhibitions, art fairs, and biennials in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, Spain, Italy, and the United States.
Mary Corrigall, Books Editor and Senior Feature writer at The Sunday Independent newspaper and a Research Fellow at The Research Centre for Visual Identities in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg, understands the value of mentoring creatives. Winner of a CNN African Journalism award in 2007, the Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews in 2009 and 2011, and the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Award for Journalism in 2009, she is dedicated to developing art writing in South Africa. She founded the South African Arts Writers and Critics Association (SAAWCA), which incorporates the SAAWCA Arts Writers Mentorship Programme, through which she mentors young art writers.
SA Taxi Foundation is the socio-economic arm of SA Taxi, the minibus taxi industry’s only specialist financer and one of South Africa’s few certified developmental credit providers. SA Taxi makes a point of acquiring the works of South African artists that represent the social and cultural milieu in which the taxi industry operates.
“Through the Foundation, by mounting the competition and exhibiting the finalist and winning works on taxis around the country, we have extended our ability to nurture the arts and, thereby, contribute to the enrichment of the fabric of society,” Singh says.
The competition closes on 11 February 2015. Entry forms for and information about the competition are available from www.sataxiartaward.co.za, [email protected], and Lizamore & Associates on 011 880 8802.