Multidisciplinary artist Olivia Botha was announced as the winner of the 2019 Cassirer Welz Award at an event held at Strauss & Company in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.
Botha’s prize is a 10- week residency at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in Johannesburg. The residency will culminate in a solo exhibition of new work at SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, marking the onset of a new relationship between the Cassirer Welz Award and this leading contemporary art gallery.
A partnership between the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Strauss & Company Fine Art Auctioneers and SMAC Gallery, the Cassirer Welz Award gives emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their work for a wider audience and significantly elevate their career.
Now in its eighth year, the award was created in honour of renowned art dealer, Reinhold Cassirer, and Stephan Welz, the late art auctioneer and co-founder of Strauss & Company.
Susie Goodman, general manager of Strauss & Company Johannesburg, said: “This year we have put significant resources and energy into our commitment to sustain and grow the entire art market in South Africa. Investing in arts education and supporting emerging talent are core business values of ours and we will be intensifying these aspects of our work.”
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‘Sugar, Darling’, 2018 • This work investigates the highly restrictive laws governing women’s reproductive rights • Each year over 70,000 women undergo unsafe abortions in Zimbabwe, resulting in over 20,000 deaths annually • What needs to be done to address this pressing issue? • #womensrights #sculpturalinstallation #oliviabotha #sculpture #oliviabothastudios #reproductiverights
Along with Joe Turpin and Sharon Moses, Botha was one of three finalists chosen by an independent selection committee. “The work of all three finalists was exceptional, but the committee felt that Olivia’s really stood out,” commented Candice Allison, director of Bag Factory Artists’ Studios.
“What’s notable about Olivia’s practice is the clear impact of the year she has spent as part of the residency programme at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. Her work shows great maturity and conceptual development and we’re excited to see what emerges during her upcoming residency with us.”
The award will see Botha provided with studio space, a contribution towards material costs and a transport stipend, as well as the opportunity to interact with the artists at the Bag Factory.
Botha’s solo exhibition at the SMAC Gallery will take place in February in the gallery’s new, bigger space at Keyes Art Mile.