SA Taxi Foundation has extended its support of local artists by joining the Artist Proof Studio (APS) Education Endowment Auction. The week-long fundraising campaign begins with a Strauss & Co online auction which launches on 12 November, and culminates in a milestone live Education Endowment Auction at Absa Gallery on 19 November.
SA Taxi Foundation, the corporate social investment arm of SA Taxi, South Africa’s only independent financier of minibus taxis, has chosen to back local artists because this non-profit organisation believes that art has a fundamental role to play in terms of shaping local culture, with the potential to also drive socioeconomic upliftment. The foundation already supports local art in various categories, with 2015 proving to be a landmark year for the organisation’s corporate social initiatives in this regard.
According to Kalnisha Singh, head of transformation and special projects at SA Taxi and director of the SA Taxi Foundation, 2015 marked the first annual SA Taxi Foundation Art Award, which took place in April. The project broke new ground in the way local art is showcased to the masses as emerging artists were required to produce a work of art that was converted into a decal that was carried on minibus taxis, thereby creating a link between industry and art.
“As a moving public art project, the annual SA Taxi Foundation Art Award aims to not only provide support to emerging artists but also to take art to broader South Africa. While so many other worthy initiatives are trying to pull audiences into niche locations such as galleries and museums, this project takes the art to where the audiences are,” explains Singh.
“However, there are currently only around 10,000 economically active artists in the country, yet we have an abundance of talent. We just need to find ways for these artists to gain access to markets, and the APS Education Endowment Auction provides an ideal platform to do so,” she continues.
The partnership with APS is therefore synergistic as both organisations aim to enhance the economic value of art in society through the incubation and up-skilling of local artistic talent which will enable them to derive financial benefit from their work. “To achieve this we need to give those artists with no previous formal education the ability to bridge the skills gap and translate a commercial brief into art, which is what the APS Education Endowment Fund enables,” elaborates Singh. “We also want to encourage artists to step out of their comfort zone and equip them with the skills necessary to start working with corporates. In this way they can realise their creative ability and derive an economic benefit.”
“While many organisations support the arts, there is no real, tangible programmes delivering meaningful upliftment in this regard,” says Kim Berman from APS. “While formally trained artists already have various opportunities to express themselves and showcase their work, offering greater opportunities for them to make a living from their art, we also need to find ways to graduate self-supporting new talent into the opportunities of a vibrant and active South African art industry.”
Accordingly, all proceeds from the auction go towards the APS Education Endowment Fund, which helps to secure bursaries for many talented young art students who apply to enrol in the APS three-year intensive training programme. “Without this Endowment Fund they have little opportunity to translate their incredible potential into a career in the arts,” explains Berman.
The SA Taxi Foundation therefore invites all art lovers and philanthropists to register online and participate in the auction. For this public sale, APS have opened up 10 years of their archives to showcase and auction some of the best work in their collection. “In addition, Adrian Kohler’s new series of portraits of some of the world’s most famous puppets, and the puppets themselves will be on exhibition at the live auction event on the 19th November,” says Berman.
In terms of the live auction event, the evening will begin with a performance by Handspring Puppet Company with an introduction by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler. The art exhibition and auction will also include 12 original drawings donated by local artists, including Norman Catherine, Diane Victor, Nelson Makamo, Bambo Sibiya, Phillemon Hlungwane, William Kentridge, and Lehlogonolo Mashaba.