From the Media Release:
The 2014 Sasol New Signatures art competition has been won by Elizabeth Jane Balcomb, for her works from The weighed and measured series, I am you & Survival, which are both sculptural pieces.
This annual competition, established by the Association of Arts Pretoria in the late 1960’s, is the longest running national art competition in South Africa and this year Sasol celebrates its 25th anniversary as a lead sponsor of the Sasol New Signatures art competition.
Balcomb, who is a self-taught artist and has been a full-time sculptor for the past five years, wins R100 000 as well as a solo exhibition at the Pretoria Arts Museum next year.
Commenting on Balcomb’s work, the judges said, ‘The artist’s keen interest in nature conservation and a deep longing for wild places, led her to become interested in aspects and characteristics of therianthropic figures found in the iconography of San paintings. Animal-human figures symbolise animal characteristics found in the personalities of humans. Furthermore, these figures offer a window into the spiritual world regarding the realms of the living and the dead.’
They added that the combination of media and the interplay between found objects, cement and bronze castings has yielded work of superior craftsmanship. The interplay between the disconnectedness of the figures which are in dialogue with one another, further plays on the humanist aspect which is contrasted by animal behavior. This evident disconnectedness between the two artworks further fuels the dialogue between the recognition of reference and the world of fantasy.
‘The sculptures are carefully balanced on industrial type callipers which strengthen the concept of “measured,” creating an uneasy compositional cantilever which further plays on the notion of “weight” and balance, further contributing to an artwork which is deserving of winning the 2014 Sasol New Signatures art competition.’
Competition runner up Adelheid Camilla von Maltitz with her sculptured piece Bodies took the second prize of R25 000, while five merit prizes of R10 000 each went to Lucienne Pallas Bestall, Bongani Innocent Khanyile, Lorienne Lotz, Josua Strümpfer and Colleen Winter.
The competition attracted a record number of entries – 587 works were received from artists from all over the country through eight regional selection points, of which a record 110 were shortlisted as finalists.