Shift in focus for judging of 2015/16 SA Taxi Foundation Art Award

Shift in focus for judging of 2015/16 SA Taxi Foundation Art Award

Changes in the assessment approach for the 2015/16 SA Taxi Foundation Art Award will deepen the impact of the Award’s watershed exhibition format – the minibus taxi.


The art competition differs from others in that it requires emerging visual artists produce a work around the 2015 theme of ‘routes’ and then convert that work into a decal that can be used on a mini bus taxi. It therefore highlights the ability of artists to work to a commercial brief.


It also takes art to the people in an innovative way, exposing the man and woman in the street to work that they would otherwise not see. In doing so, it exposes society as a whole to creative views of its issues and triumphs.


Internationally recognised innovation and trend specialist, Dion Chang, who was one of the three judges for the first year of the competition (2014) and has accepted the responsibility again this year, says that he is looking forward to more emphasis by the artists on the interpretation of their work on to a taxi.


“Last year, most of the entrants were simply transferring their original work on to the form of a taxi and not giving additional thought to the way the work would look not just in 3D but in movement through busy streets.


“In fact, for us as judges, actually seeing in practical terms how the work we had selected functioned in society, usually at its most frenetic during peak traffic times, gave us a different perspective on the work itself.


“This will change the way we will assess this year’s entries.”


Chang owns Flux Trends, a consulting company that specialises in understanding the ever-evolving consumer mindset and helping organisations identify the unexpected opportunities in shifting trends. 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.


Art critic, historian, and mentor, Mary Corrigall, will also be judging the competition for the second time. As the 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, she 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.


Cape Town-based South African artist and curator of contemporary art at Iziko’s South African National Gallery, Ernestine White, will judge the competition for the first time. She holds a master’s degree in fine art, honours in curatorship, and a master printer degree in fine art lithography. She is a member of the National Arts Festival’s artistic committee, contributing to the development of the visual arts programme at the Grahamstown Arts Festival and the selection of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners. Her own work can be found in major collections in South Africa and the United States, where some of her recent work has been included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collections. At the museum, her work has also formed part of a group exhibition of some of South Africa’s most celebrated printmakers.


Kalnisha Singh, director of the SA Taxi Foundation says that, because the Art Award is so different from other competitions, it calls for 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 get.”


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.