Following a regional judging process that took place in January and February 2017, 55 finalists have been chosen from across South Africa and will move on to the prestigious national judging round of the PPC Imaginarium Awards.
The country’s most supportive art and design prize has once again garnered unprecedented attention from aspiring creatives, achieving a record number of entries into the competition – with an impressive 869 registered entries received, exceeding last year’s total of 698 entrants. The finalists were chosen from the competition’s various categories, namely, film, industrial design, sculpture, fashion and jewellery. (The architecture entries are still in the process of being judged.) The overall winner, category winners and runners-up will be announced on Thursday, 18 May at the UJ Art Gallery in Johannesburg. The overall winner will walk away with a total cash prize of R150 000, while category winners and runners-up will each be awarded R50 000 and R15 000 respectively.
The finalists’ submissions were judged by a prestigious panel of industry experts, including well-known architect and director of the awards, Daniel van der Merwe; fashion and design consultant Allana Finley; and visual artist Stephen Hobbs. Other noteworthy regional judges include esteemed fine artist Mary Sibande, award-winning filmmaker Wessel van Huyssteen and Gallery MOMO Cape Town director Igsaan Martin. The high number of registered entries resulted in a selection of interesting and diverse submissions that exceeded the expectations of the judges. Not only were the physical entries intriguing, the standard of the submissions outstripped that of previous years.
“There was a noticeable progression of the physical submissions this year,” says Martin. “It is evident that entrants are researching the limitations of concrete and delivering this knowledge within their artworks. The outcome was innovative submissions that are of exceptional quality.”
Finley says, “I was impressed by the inventiveness of works submitted during the awards’ 2016/2017 cycle. It was inspiring to witness the way in which entrants incorporated the medium of concrete into their submissions and were able to do so across PPC Imaginarium’s various categories. I was excited to find that a big portion of the entries were commercially viable and globally relevant, which is an important aspect to consider with a global partner like PPC Ltd.” A project of the innovation department of PPC Ltd, the PPC Imaginarium Awards challenges artists and designers to express their creative abilities using cement as the primary medium. This criterion has always resulted in an array of exciting and imaginative works that truly demonstrate the versatility and unexpected beauty of concrete – and this year is no exception to the rule. Members of the public will be able to engage with the finalists’ work at a number of galleries and events across the country, including 100% Design South Africa, the Turbine Art Fair and the KZNSA Gallery, in addition to the exhibition at the UJ Art Gallery. This travelling showcase, supported by Stuttaford Van Lines, will see the finalists’ work gain widespread industry and public exposure.