Coming of Age

On behalf of the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Board of Trustees, a heartfelt congratulations to this year’s winners.

The number 18 is significant for several reasons. Generally, it’s considered the age when one becomes an adult. Pollock painted a work named Number 18. In numerology the essence of it has to do with humanitarianism and building something of lasting benefit. In China it is considered an auspicious number. All are applicable associations when it comes to celebrating the 18th edition of the annual Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) Awards, writes ACT CEO Pieter Jacobs.

The Trust received more than double the number of nominations for the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals than it did in 2014. This reflects in the overall quality of finalists across the board. One observation is that a number of the finalists have taken full advantage of the potential the global market offers. Taking into account that this category is for young professionals who have made an impact during the first five years of their careers, the finalists can be proud of what they have accomplished in a relatively short period.

The finalists of the Design category undeniably have the wow-factor and all Music & Singing finalists have recorded at least one album to critical acclaim. The Dance finalists are all choreographers as well as dancers and the finalists in the Visual Art category illustrate that having a savvy business mindset could propel sustainable careers in a challenging industry. Looking at the body of work and achievements of the Theatre finalists, it’s safe to say that South African theatre is very much alive, especially for those who are making the effort to consistently produce quality work against all odds.

To do this for a lifetime is no mean feat. The highlight of the ACT Awards is casting a spotlight on six phenomenal individuals, who have, for a lifetime, consistently produced, conceived, performed, composed, written, published and choreographed work of outstanding quality. Striving for each project to be better than the last. Now that is worth acknowledging and celebrating. This year’s winners are known for inspiring greatness, for provoking and for raising the bar. We feel very privileged and honoured to get to spend an evening with these luminaries.

Allowing ACT to allocate these much-deserved Awards to those who dedicate their careers to advancing arts and culture in South Africa is a group of valuable and engaged partners who it cannot be done without. We are thrilled to welcome JTI to the fold. Their support enables the Trust to allocate a Lifetime Achievement Award for Dance for the first time in the history of the event. Sun International’s renewed support ensures that the ACT Awards ceremony does justice to celebrating the giants of our industry. Other long-standing category sponsors include the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO), Media24 Books, Nedbank Arts Affinity, Creative Feel magazine and Distell Foundation. We acknowledge the vital role they have played in the coming-of-age of the event.

ACT is proud of the legacy of the Awards perpetuated by the consistent efforts of praiseworthy artistic output of previous winners. Since inception of the event in 1998, more that 140 individuals and organisations have been acknowledged and honoured for their contributions to arts and culture in South Africa. Those who have passed on rightfully own a place in our history and, more noteworthy, in our hearts. We remember and pay tribute to André P. Brink, Nadine Gordimer, Miriam Makeba, Peter Clarke, E’skia Mphahlela, Nofinishi Dywili, Gibson Kente, Percy Baneshif and Sophie Thoko Mgcina who are all previous Lifetime Achievement Award recipients.

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