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Winner of Sasol New Signatures 2018 encourages emerging artists to enter life-changing competition

Sasol New Signatures Art Competition is the longest running competition of its kind in South Africa and has over the years provided a platform for unknown artists to break into the mainstream. In 2019 Sasol celebrates 30 years of sponsoring the competition in partnership with the Association of Arts Pretoria. The competition has produced many deserving winners, many of whom are now household names in the South African and global art world.

Jessica KappJessica Storm Kapp, from Knysna and recent graduate from Stellenbosch University won the title as overall winner in 2018. In addition to winning R100 000, she received the opportunity to have her own solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum which will take place in August 2019 alongside the announcement and exhibition of the 2019 winners and finalists.
     Her fascination with artefacts and traces taken from various landscapes aids the messages of her work and reveals the capacity that objects have in rendering the experiences of their imagined landscapes.
     ‘My working title for my upcoming solo exhibition is in the act of remembering. The exhibition will explore concepts of labour, experience, trace, habitat/home, bodies, memories, ambience, the histories of landscapes as well as artefact retrieval and collection. This work developed after my fourth-year final exhibition artefacts of belonging and is a continuation of that theme. It showcases a number of projects that continue along the same motif explored in my final year, namely the unearthing of experience using my own interpretation of the 2017 Knysna fires, and what they came to signify to me,’ said Kapp.
     The exhibition will explore the resonance of home through the uncovering of memories and remnants belonging to certain landscapes and she plans to continue to use an earthly aesthetic, as well as materials from Knysna within the work.
     ‘My intention is to use the image of the forest, the idea of nature to evoke experiences that are completely personal to the viewer, thereby prompting them to recall things from their own personal memory archive. I set out with the intention of creating visceral experiences of my home, by identifying the key physical features that have come to categorise my own. I hope that my work may act as a vessel through which the ambience of home can be represented. It is by reconstructing fragments of found objects that I allude to concepts of loss, trace, history, attachment and reflection’ continued Kapp.
     Collecting, identifying and ordering objects according to their perceived value has long since been an interest of Kapp’s and one that can be consistently found throughout her work. Her winning piece from Sasol New Signatures 2018 is called Mapping Time and her planned solo exhibition is an extension of that same concept.

Sasol New Signatures 2018
Jessica Storm Kapp – University of Stellenbosch. Mapping Time. Rammed earth columns and embedded object. 150 x 250 x 250 cm

     Kapp added: “I started out the year by creating some sculptural installation pieces and have a few printmaking ideas in mind. I think that the reason I keep revisiting sculpture is because of its bodily capacity; coupled with my interest in space and place, it has made the perfect fit between my conceptual underpinning and material link. Sculpture paired with the installation’s ability to render new articulations of space has allowed me to explore my own identity as an artist through the process of discovery. My work in this regard acts as a map, recording and cataloging my journey to understand and affirm my notions of place.’
     The Sasol New Signatures Competition is open to all South African artists who are 18 years and older who have not yet held a solo exhibition. Artists are able to submit artworks in all artistic mediums including photography, performance art, video and installations.
     Contemporary, innovative and emerging artists with winning aspirations are invited to submit their artworks at one of several collection points around the country between 10:00 and 16:00 on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 and Wednesday, 19 June 2019. The winner of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition will be announced on 21 August at a gala event, after which the winning works will be displayed at the prestigious Pretoria Art Museum from Thursday, 22 August 2019 to Sunday, 29 September 2019. The winner will receive R100 000 and a solo exhibition at next year’s exhibition, with the runner up winning R25 000 and the five merit award winners receiving R10 000 each.
     Kapp had this to say to artists thinking of entering in 2019: ‘Put your best foot forward and enter! There is nothing to lose and so much to gain by putting yourself out there, and exposing your work to a larger audience. It is an amazing platform and you learn a lot about yourself and your aspirations.
     For more information on the competition and to download the entry form: www.sasolnewsignatures.co.za

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