R150 000 up for grabs in portrait competition

The 2021 Portrait Award winner Felicity Bell with her winning oil-on-board portrait, Khulani, d. February 2021.

Entries for this year’s Portrait Award, hosted by Durbanville’s Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, open on Thursday June 1, with a grand prize of R150 000 up for grabs.

“Every event sees entrants from all over the country,” says the gallery’s curator, Hamlin Jansen van Vuuren. “Our judging panel has the honour of assessing the handiwork of both amateurs and seasoned, creative veterans. Every approach to the task is unique – a fine testament to the fact that there is still much to celebrate about the visceral act of putting paint, or pencil, to paper. We look forward to seeing the 2023 entries.”

Three judges will select 100 portraits, and then the top-40 will be exhibited at the gallery from Friday September 1 to Thursday November 2.

The top-40 will also then become part of a travelling exhibition, while the other 60 will be exhibited from Saturday September 2 at the Spier Arts Trust Union House in Cape Town.

The competition also awards a R30 000 second prize and a R20 000 third prize. Additional prizes for finalists include an artist residency in Spain, six Zoom tutoring sessions by master portrait artist Andrew James.

The Ryno Swart Drawing Medal, which makes its first appearance this year, will be awarded to the portrait artist who is deemed best in a drawing medium.

Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to enter at a cost of R250 per entry, and artists are allowed to submit an unlimited number of entries.

Entries close on Saturday June 10. Call Shelley Swart at 087 255 0849 or email gallery@rust-en-vrede.com for more information.