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Launched in 2013, the award celebrates and showcases the best of original portraiture in South Africa. This year’s judging panel will consist of Tanya Poole, Craig Wylie and Ernestine White, convened by Stefan Hundt, head of Sanlam Private Wealth’s Art Advisory Service. The closing date for entries is 23 July 2015 and the winner will be announced at a gala event to be held at the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery on 27 August 2015.

“We are extremely pleased with the calibre of judges we have attracted,” says Hundt. “It is particularly pleasing that the panel comprises such experienced and knowledgeable individuals. We are comfortable that the judges’ views will be independent.”

Sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth, in partnership with Durbanville’s Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery, the award offers a prize of R100 000 and a viewers’ choice prize. The first award, held in 2013, attracted a staggering 1 783 entries. KwaZulu-Natal artist Heather Gourlay-Conyngham walked off with the top prize for her nude male portrait entitled A Young Man (177 x 80cm, oil on canvas).

Tanya Poole graduated with an MFA from Rhodes University in 1988. Primarily a portrait artist, she has also worked with video, performance, installation, theatre design and paint animation. She has participated in group and solo exhibitions nationally and abroad and is a lecturer at Rhodes University in Grahamstown since 2009.

Craig Wylie graduated from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, in 1996. He is a well-known figurative painter and has had solo and group shows in the UK and internationally. His work features in many private and public collections including the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. He won the BP Portrait Award in the UK in 2008. Wylie lives and works in London.

Ernestine White obtained a Bachelors in Fine Art at the School of Art and Design, Purchase College, NY, in 1999 and a Master of Fine Art from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 2000. She is the curator for contemporary art at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. She is a renowned artist whose work is represented in several local and international collections including the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

The competition is open to artists of 18 years and older who are residents of South Africa. Work entered should be based on a sitting, or study from life, and the human figure must predominate. No sculptures, photographs and works created using software or other digital means will be eligible. All works will be judged anonymously by a panel of three independent judges. They will identify the winning portrait and select 39 other entries to tour the country as part of an exclusive exhibition. The panel will be convened by Stefan Hundt, head of the Sanlam Private Wealth art advisory service and curator of the Sanlam Art Collection.

For more information on the competition, entry forms and competition rules, please go to or

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