Artists showcase work at Imaginarium awards

Sam Fortuin with (Re)Birth.

All Cape Town’s entrants to this year’s PPC Imaginarium Awards competition had their work up at the AVA Gallery in Church Street on Thursday March 28.

The pop-up exhibition, which was only up until Saturday March 30, featured about 15 pieces, in which cement had to be incorporated in some way.

The final judging will be done in Johannesburg, and the overall winners of the competition will be announced on Thursday April 11.

The competition, now in its fifth year, was introduced to highlight top emerging talent and assist up-and-coming artists and designers to launch their careers.

The categories for the competition were fashion, sculpture, industrial design, jewellery and film, as well as this year’s overall architecture winner.

Entrants stand to win their share of the total cash prize, valued at R520 000, as well as exposure and mentorships with industry leaders.

The Imaginarium Awards are the brainchild of Daniel van der Merwe, innovation architect at PPC. Speaking to the entrants, he said this year there was diversity in the work, and it showed off the creativity in Cape Town.

“A lot of the work also deals with topical and social issues we face as a country and in the world. I would say that this year, it was a close call, because all the entries have winning potential.”

He said in Cape Town, sculpture dominated the competition this year. “All the finalists have a lot to be proud of.”

Campbell Luck, from Blouberg, entered his sculpture called Voortrekkers – a statue of a woman wearing a bonnet, with a silver base. He described the sculpture as a renaissance piece. “There is very little colonial art and even though it is a reminder of a tense past, it was something that speaks to me, so I wanted to do a little classic that referenced way back.”

Mr Luck, who is a painter, said this was his first sculpture for which he used cement as a medium. “It’s one of my favourite mediums because of its flexibility. You can make one mould and use it to replicate pieces.”

Cristina Salvoldi, from Pinelands, made a huge bow out of cement. The sculpture, called Concrete Present, weighed about 135kg.

She said while the primary medium had to be cement, she was always attracted to cloth and how it moves and creases.

“When I create a sculpture, it’s like everything becomes timeless, and that ties in with the timelessness of the cement.

“The bow, although concrete, is also a play on hard and soft – cement and fabric. “

Sam Fortuin, who is a fourth year art student at UCT, entered his piece called (Re)birth – a sculpture with antelope horns on a helmet, featuring a mirror chip in the centre of the helmet. He said his work explored the idea of life, death and spirit, especially that of the indigenous ancestors, the Khoi Khoi.

“The horns were made of manually manufactured sand, which I made by crushing beer bottles and then mixing it with cement to make it stable. This sculpture had me playing with themes of spirit, and the viewer is welcome to reflect on themselves by looking into the mirror.”

Mr Van Der Merwe said a few pieces were selected from the exhibition to join the finals at Pretoria University, until the winners are announced.