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Monday, November 10, 2014


Deadline: 12 noon on February 11, 2015

SA Taxi Foundation Art Award drives growth of visual arts in South Africa.

The work of emerging artists will be taken to the streets in the form of decals on minibus taxis, making art accessible to all.

The SA Taxi Foundation, the socio-economic arm of SA Taxi, the minibus taxi’s only specialist financer and one of South Africa’s few certified developmental credit providers, has launched an art award aimed specifically at nurturing the development of emerging artists and providing the broader community with access to the visual arts.

“During the past several years at SA Taxi, we have made a point of acquiring the works of South African artists that represent the social and cultural milieu in which the taxi industry operates,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Kalnisha Singh. “We were gratified to find that, in doing so, we had been using our corporate capabilities to give expression to the findings of a study into South Africa’s visual arts commissioned by the Department of Arts and Culture and undertaken in 2010 by the Human Sciences Research Council.

“The premise of the study was that the visual arts make a significant contribution to education, public health, and urban development,” Singh adds. “More importantly, they give all of us an insight into how we perceive ourselves, as members of South African society, in a society composed of multiple identities, realities, and ways of being in a complex world. In spite of this insight being so vital to the South African psyche, the report found that there are fewer than 10 000 visual artists active in the country.

“Also, this very small part of our population looking at our society through creative and questioning eyes operates mostly in urban areas – usually Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Inherently, therefore, there is plenty of scope for additional sponsorship and patronage of the visual arts. So, we decided to extend our own efforts in terms of nurturing the arts. Our intention is to provide exposure for artists who are starting out in the industry, propagate the appreciation of art by exposing it to the general population, and, consequently, contribute to the enrichment of the fabric of society through the development of art.”

The SA Taxi Foundation Art Award will recognise an exceptional work of art in any medium by an artist older than 21 years who has not yet had a solo exhibition.

Entrants must produce an original work informed by the idea of ‘destination’. They must then interpret this artwork for the design of wrap-around decal on a minibus taxi.

This second aspect considers the role of the artist in industry and society.

Singh says that, while most art competitions focus exclusively on the quality of the artwork submitted, the SA Taxi Foundation chose to have the adjudicators for its award look at both the original artwork and the success of the interpreted design because many artists and creatives find employment through commissioned work and in advertising and marketing agencies. “In both cases, the ability to interpret a client’s brief is essential.”

The work of the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award winner and five finalists will be displayed as decals on ten taxis per work for a period of six months. Some 60 taxis will therefore function as mobile galleries, taking art to the people.

SA Taxi finances 23,000 of South Africa’s 200,000 minibus taxis and, therefore, can provide access for the artists whose work will be displayed to 40% of the country’s commuter population.

Each of the six winners will receive prizes worth in excess of R600,000 each, including a portion in cash. The SA Taxi Foundation is partnering with the Lizamore & Associates Gallery in Johannesburg, where a juried selection of works from entrants will be displayed in April 2015. A catalogue of all the works will be produced.

Entries must be submitted digitally for the first round of selection. The deadline is 12 noon on February 11, 2015

Entrants must be South African citizens or legally resident in the country. Entry forms for and information about the competition are available from,, and Lizamore & Associates on 011 880 8802.