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SA’s leading lights to judge emerging art and design innovators

Art and design competitions are legitimised as much by the entry talent they attract as by the calibre of the judges weighing in on the winners. The annual PPC Imaginarium Awards, now in its 5 th year, boasts both a plethora of young creatives competing for the country’s most supportive art and design prize and a truly stellar judging panel. The panel comprises industry leaders drawn from across the various entry categories, namely, Fashion, Film, Architecture, Industrial Design, Sculpture and Jewellery.

Pieter J Mathews

Last year, the PPC Imaginarium Awards judges were tasked with evaluating over 300 completed submissions. For 2019 the formidable task of judging the flood of entries falls to an illustrious panel comprising high-profile personalities, who evaluate submissions at a regional and then national level.

The six regional judges who, together with competition director Daniel van der Merwe, will select this year’s finalists, are: Pierre Lombard (Johannesburg), Mary Sibande (Johannesburg), Jay Pather (Cape Town), Jessica Staple (Port Elizabeth), Avitha Sooful (Pretoria), Themba Shibase (KZN), Sisanda Henna (Johannesburg) and Adelheid von Maltitz (Bloemfontein).

Daniel van der Merwe

The judges will be looking for entries that express innovation through the medium of concrete. In doing so, they will bring their formidable experience and expertise to bear when choosing the strongest entries.

Sibanda, for example, is one of the country’s best-known contemporary artists and is both a sculptor and photographer whose work is held in collections in South Africa and abroad. Pather is a Fullbright Scholar and Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town, Director of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, Artistic Director of Siwela Sinke, and one of the visionary voices of South African performance.

The architecture category will be judged as a stand-alone, with entries examined by practicing architects Buhle Mathole of Kabu Design Architects, Pieter Mathews of Mathews Associates Architects, Letsabisa Shongwe of Arch-L!ve Architects and Hugh Fraser of Paragon Architects.


The film category will also be judged separately, jointly evaluated by Van der Merwe and respected filmmaker Wessel van Huysteen.

Once the regional judging is complete, the national judging panel will decide each of the six Category Winners and the Overall Winner. The national judges comprise artist and curator Stephen Hobbs, Sibanda and Van Der Merwe.

The winners of the 2019 awards will be announced at a Gala Event at UJ Gallery on the night of 11 April 2019. Thereafter an exhibition of all the finalists’ work will be open to the public until 16 May 2019, before the show travels to large-scale exhibition platforms such as the Turbine Art Fair and 100% Design South Africa 2019.