Two Young Artists Grab Top Prizes in 2019 Sasol New Signatures Competition Using Traditional Media in Classic Style

Pictures: Petrus Saayman

Sasol New Signatures winner Patric Rulore
Sasol New Signatures 2019 winner Patric Rulore



Hoping to shine a magnificent light on load shedding – both literally and figuratively – was the inspiration for Pretoria student Patrick Rulore’s winning canvas titled Stage 4 moments.

Rising to the occasion, the young artist was announced the winner of the 2019 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition at the Pretoria Art Museum last night, (Wednesday) winning a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum with the 2020 winners.

 “It was part of my family’s experience which gave me more insight into how to execute it the way I did,” explained the 24-year-old student currently completing a National Diploma in Fine Arts at the Tshwane University of Technology.

“In the beginning of this year, South Africa had to endure extreme shortages in electricity supply with electricity scheduled in stages. The most important part of the work was to teach people to turn unfavourable circumstances into a positive experience,” he said.

In his painting, Rulore depicts the typical behaviour of his family during load shedding, celebrating the absence of all activities involving electrical device during these blackouts which encouraged them to interact with each other – to talk, to laugh and to play games.

His primary medium is paint, using both oils and acrylics. “I am fascinated by the complexity of the human body (male and female) and attempt to discover its magic on the canvas. I endeavour to capture the emotions and spirit of everyone I paint. To achieve this, I manipulate and play with colours, textures, paint and brush marks,” he earnestly explains his process.

Paying tribute to his mom who has been a strong influence and supporter of his art, he believes it was her work as a fashion designer that encouraged him to pursue art.

Sasol New Signatures runner up Luyanda Zindela
Sasol New Signatures runner up Luyanda Zindela

The runner-up in the 2019 competition is Durban University of Technology M student Luyanda Zindela, also using traditional media –  pen, ink and graphite – on pine-board, titled Phowthah sis’ Mgabadeli.

 The title which means Pout Miss Mgabadeli is a reference to his friend’s irreverence, says the artist. “When I was taking the pictures, she asked me whether she could pout.” With the title, he also points to the way women are assigned specific roles in society.

 The drawing is a breakaway for him in terms of scale as well as overall. “I wanted to gauge how it would be received by an art audience and to produce a body of work based on the submitted drawing.” He certainly got a generous response.

 With his chosen tools, apart from the work, he also explores the limitless possibilities of a medium so readily available that it is often taken for granted. “I have tried to capture the boundless intricacies of black skin using traditional pen and ink drawing techniques like cross-hatching and stippling.”
He tried to push his boundaries and believes if you really look, the improving technique is visible. As runner-up, he was awarded R25 000 and the knowledge that his future project has been given the go-ahead.

For most of these rewarded artists, the competition means validation and a launch into the professional world.

These Five Merit Award Winners were also announced with most of them working with the personal:

S Nico Athene (Johannesburg) After After Party (Resurrection) DiaMount

Nico Athene  (Johannesburg) After After Party (Resurrection) DiaMount

S Kgodisho Moloto (Polokwane) Disguise mask Pot scrubs and wire

Kgodisho Moloto (Polokwane) Disguise mask Pot scrubs and wire

S Angelique Patricia Mary Bougaard (University of Johannesburg) Crucified Mixed media drawing on handmade paper


Angelique Patricia Mary Bougaard (University of Johannesburg) Crucified Mixed media drawing on handmade paper

S Cecilia Maartens-Van Vuuren (Bloemfontein) A presentiment Dried roots.jpgCecilia Maartens-Van Vuuren (Bloemfontein) A presentiment Dried roots

S Mlamuli Eric Zulu (Durban) Enlightened Art gathering Mixed mediaMlamuli Eric Zulu (Durban) Enlightened Art gathering Mixed media

Each of them received a R10 000 cash prize.

Acclaimed artist, judge and Sasol New Signatures Chairperson Professor Pieter Binsbergen noted that in this 30th year of Sasol sponsoring the longest-running art competition started by the Association of Arts Pretoria to encourage emerging artists, the winner and runner-up have both been recognised for works created in traditional media – ink and paint. He praised both works that have been painstakingly laboured and felt that the artists through their work showed immense drive and passion.

“Identity is still the driver, but the lens has narrowed,” he says about the work generally. “The journey has become more personal which they hope will echo widely.”

He also acknowledges that there’s a return to classicism, dealing with a more laboured surface with traditional media where technique rather than Instagram moments is at stake.

“On behalf of Sasol, we congratulate all the 2019 Sasol New Signatures winners,” said Nozipho Mbatha, Sasol Senior Manager: Group Brand Management. She also tipped her hat to all the emerging artists who have participated in the competition over the past 30 years.

“The majority of winners and merit award winners have carved out illustrious careers in the visual arts and have made significant contributions to our country’s artistic heritage. Here’s to the next 30 years of developing our cultural economy,” she concluded.

Jessica Storm Kapp, the 2018 winner, will present her solo exhibition entitled Artefacts of Belonging at the Pretoria Art Museum, alongside the 2019 finalists as part of her prize. The exhibition will feature the 2019 winner, runner-up and five merit award winners as well the 80 finalists, all of whom are included in the highly respected competition catalogue. The exhibition runs until September 29, 2019.

The final judging panel consisted of: Professor Pieter Binsbergen  (Convener), Cate Terblanche (Sasol Curator), Mary Sibande (artist), Wilhelm van Rensburg (Senior Art Specialist, Strauss & Co), Lebohang Kganye (Sasol New Signatures Winner 2017) and Pfunzo Sidogi (Lecturer, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Tshwane University of Technology).

* Pretoria Art Museum:

Tuesday to Sunday:  10am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays)

Corner Francis Baard and Wessels St, Arcadia Park.


Sasol’s New Signatures 2018 is about Mapping Time and Personal Stories

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From left: Megan Serfontein, Jessica Kapp, Kelly Crouse, Pierre le Riche, Debbie Fan, Peter Campbell, Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Prof Pieter Binsbergen, and Mulatedzi Simon Moshapo.


The way people use art to share their personal stories and speak their mind is what makes it such a rare and valuable commodity. Each year when the New Signature winners are announced, and the exhibition opens at the Pretoria Art Museum in Arcadia, the work captures a specific zeitgeist.

Stellenbosch-based artist, Jessica Storm Kapp, 22, the winner of the 2018 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition won the coveted award for her rammed earth columns and embedded object installation piece titled Mapping Time.

Pierre le Riche with Ap(peal) 1 & Ap(peal) 11
Winner Jessica Kapp with Mapping Time.

Personal stories with a universal message was this year’s focus with Kapp’s work following and thus the result of the disastrous Knysna fires. Currently she is studying in Stellenbosch and with the disaster she felt cut off from her home. But on her return, she knew she had to do something with the emotional impact and the effect of the disaster on her personally. “I knew I had to capture the presence of time,” she says as she started collecting soil, charred objects and other traces of the fire which all found their way into the winning work.

The artwork investigates whether fine art can evoke multisensory experiences of home using retrieved objects and materials. These have value both because of the site from which they were taken as well as their intrinsic value as traces of a destroyed dwelling. “It’s only a year on and already there’s hardly a trace of the fire left,” she says. This was her attempt to illustrate concepts such as loss, trace, place attachment and reflection.

She is currently completing her undergraduate degree in Fine Art at Stellenbosch University. Through various print making techniques, photography, sculpture and installation, she aims to create immersive moments in which viewers can experience the essence of a place through their multiple senses.

As the winner of Sasol New Signatures, she received a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum in 2019, which will mark Sasol’s 30th year sponsoring South Africa’s longest running art competition.

Contextualising the winning work, the Sasol New Signatures Chairperson, Prof Pieter Binsbergen, said: “Regarding the pressing issues of land, including pre-, post-, and de-colonial struggles, the work’s ability to ambiguously navigate through and around these sensitive issues makes it worthy of being the winning artwork”.

Peter Campbell with Kaisen in 2nd place
Peter Campbell with Kaisen in 2nd place

In second place, Cape Town artist Peter Mikael Campbell’s work in pencil titled, Kaisen, which means, “change for better” in Japanese, won him R25 000. “It’s about creating beauty,” he says about his art arguing that if you create and make people aware of something beautiful, it will make them more aware of the world around them – and thus the people. “It’s a belief in the value of art,” he explains with a belief that it can contribute to a better world.

For the five merit winners, the personal all came into play in their work.

Kelly Crouse with Medication
Kelly Crouse with Medication : C₂₃H₂₇N₃O₇.

For Port Elizabeth’s Kelly Crouse with Medication: C₂₃H₂₇N₃O₇, it is about a skin disorder she had as a child and the crippling effects it had on her life. “We all have our own personal flaws,” she explains, and because hers is something that she won’t ever be free of because it is part of her DNA, she wanted to investigate how it shaped her life.

Debbie Fan with Cheque or Savings
Debbie Fan with Cheque or Savings?

Also from Port Elizabeth, Debbie Fann used their family business to explore her identity. Her parents own a Chinese restaurant where she waitressed for a while. In her work Cheque or Savings?

She uses something that is easily discarded, a restaurant bill, to tell her story. On the one side of the work is a simple picture of an actual bill and on the other, there’s one she plays with in quite light-hearted fashion. “I use parody for example and change certain dishes like deepfried rice to dogfried or that oft used phrase, Made in China. But she’s also commenting on the customers, our throwaway society, commercialism and simply being Chinese and how she is perceived in this country.

Megan Serfontein with Untitled
Megan Serfontein with Untitled, a work that deals with technology.

Sticking to our current world and the way it operates, Megan Serfontein, another University of Stellenbosch student uses technology to make a point. She wrote a programme to illustrate how we all react differently when we know we’re being watched or filmed for example. Her work which is untitled is a monitor which changes as people stand in front of it. In effect you as the viewer becomes the art. It’s fun but also clever and especially in our technological world, to use something that changes what the camera sees, sharply makes her point.

Pierre le Riche with Ap(peal) 1 & Ap(peal) 11
Pierre le Riche with Ap(peal) 1 & Ap(peal) 11.

Cape Town’s Pierre Henri Le Riche’s porcelain slave bells titled Ap(peal) I & Ap(peal) II can be viewed as museum relics with a play on history, stories that are told by the victors and thus shaping a particular story telling it as it desires to be told.

Mulatedzi Moshapo with The leader shall govern
Mulatedzi Moshapo with The leader shall govern.

With his striking wood sculpture titled The leader shall govern, Mulatedzi Moshapo from Polokwane explains that every work has its own story to tell and his medium isn’t the only determining factor, the people he features are also showing their world and their unhappiness.

Each Merit Award winner received a R10 000 cash prize.

2017 Winner Lebohang Kganye with Lighthouse Keeper
2017 Winner Lebohang Kganye with Mohlokomedi wa Tora (Lighthouse Keeper).

Finally, this is also where the previous year’s winner is given a chance to show their progress of the past year. Winner of 2017, Lebohang Kganye’s first solo exhibition, Mohlokomedi wa Tora (Lighthouse Keeper), runs in conjunction with the 2018 Sasol New Signatures exhibition until October 7 at the Pretoria Art Museum. “It’s an ongoing conversation with my grandmother,” she notes as she keeps on talking in a way that is evolving but all about her family and their stories. It is cramped in its current space, not quite allowing the work to breathe as expansively as it should.

The rest of the exhibition features the 2018 winner, runner up and five merit award winners as well as 87 finalists, all of whom are included in the acclaimed competition catalogue available at the museum.

Charlotte Mokoena, Sasol Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs urged the artists to continue being fearless in their artistry, challenging society to evaluate the lenses through which it views the world. “It is by doing so that you unconsciously give others the permission to be boundless in their pursuit of their happiness and purpose. Be limitless,” she urged.


Pretoria Art Museum times:

Tuesday to Sunday:  10:00 to 17:00 (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays)

Pretoria Art Museum: Corner Francis Baard and Wessels St, Arcadia Park