The SA Taxi Foundation Art Award was constructed on three tiers:
The first is to provide a solid and credible platform through which emerging artists can contribute to their career building efforts, along with a handsome cash prize. This takes the form of a competition whereby a juried selection of works from those entered will be exhibited in April 2015 at Lizamore & Associates gallery. A catalogue and significant publicity efforts will accompany this curated gallery exhibition.
The second tier considers the role of an artist in industry and society. While most art competitions will look exclusively to the quality of only artwork submitted, which is an important thing to consider, this award asks the artist to address a further brief. Mirroring the role that creativity plays in industry, the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award asks artists to take their own artwork and interpret it further for a decal that will cover an entire taxi.
“In this way they use their own work as a brief for a further public artwork designed around specific parameters” explains Project Manager Teresa Lizamore. “The adjudicators will look at both the original artwork and the success of the interpreted design in their selection of finalists and winners. This is a critical and pragmatic element since many artists and creatives find employment through commissioned work and in agencies where interpretation of a client’s brief is fundamental.”
The last tier considers the community at large as well as the opportunity provided by this unique sponsor. The six finalists’ designs will be converted into taxi decals for 10 taxi’s each (60 in total) and each winner will have their work exposed to hundreds of thousands of commuters on key routes for a period of a year. Aligned to this a further public and social campaign will target the commuters directly through poster give-aways and other marketing initiatives using the channels available both inside the taxi’s and via social media. This allows people who would not ordinarily visit galleries, never mind buy contemporary art, access to this critical part of our cultural landscape.
The artwork ‘Networking Identities’ was inspired by and depicts the vast amount of culture-and language diversity present in South Africa. South Africa is home to many beautiful, bustling cities where endless social and economic connections are being made; a complex network giving and receiving information, constantly evolving.
When thinking of what forms individual identities, one would automatically consider race or ethnicity, nationality, social class, gender, and age. When I think of what constitutes my identity as a South African, I immediately consider ‘language’. South Africa has 11 official languages, this is both a blessing and a tremendous challenge. Language in South Africa plays a pivotal role in how we interact and perceive each other as a nation; how we get along…and how we disagree.
South African Identities were created and shaped throughout history with many different influences and variables. I strongly believe that South Africans should work on having more tolerance and empathy for each other in terms of cultural differences. The latter can only be achieved through proactive social interaction and exposure to people from diverse cultural backgrounds who also speak a different local tongue than the one you grew up with. Our identities are engrained in the language we speak; through understanding and expanding our local-language vocabulary, we will not only also promote and propel South African networking systems on business and economic level, but we will also have a better personal understanding of our neighbours, colleagues and friends…as well as the next person who sits opposite us on the train or taxi!