Art of humanity: Art lover and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs, seen here unveiling a sculpture by Mozambican-born sculptor Orlando Almeida at Constitutional Hill, was named the 2017 Art Champion at the 20th annual Business and Arts SA Awards on Sunday. Picture: TSHEKO KABASIA
Art of humanity: Art lover and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs, seen here unveiling a sculpture by Mozambican-born sculptor Orlando Almeida at Constitutional Hill, was named the 2017 Art Champion at the 20th annual Business and Arts SA Awards on Sunday. Picture: TSHEKO KABASIA

At Sunday’s 20th annual Business and Arts SA (Basa) Awards, 11 partnerships were honoured at an event attended by representatives of the business and arts community.

These awards, partnered by Hollard and Business Day, honour exceptional projects that demonstrate the positive and sustainable effect of dynamic business and arts partnerships.

Founded two decades ago as a partnership between several corporates and the Department of Arts and Culture, Basa now includes 126 business members, the creative sector, organisations in the Southern African region and a growing slate of project-specific partners.

Winners in the 2017 categories provide inspiring insights into the role the arts plays in connecting people and enabling transformation — and the ways business can support this.

"The awards this year demonstrate great partnerships and the power of ongoing sustainability. They highlight the absolute need to ensure the arts remain integral to our society — growing cultural capital and social engagement," said Basa CEO Michelle Constant.

Hollard chief marketing officer Heidi Brauer said the firm’s partnership with Basa was testament to the power of business and the arts working together.

"The originality manifested in the arts is both an inspiration to businesspeople and an articulate demonstration of how creativity can enhance human interaction and social collaboration.

"Tonight has showcased just how successful this can be," said Business Day editor Tim Cohen.

The event, held at Nirox Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site, was inspired by 2017’s theme, Disruption. Guests were treated to performances throughout the sculpture park and were given time to explore the space where nature meets art.

Performers on the day included Buskaid, Moving Into Dance Mophatong, The Field Band Foundation, Olifantland and Vuyani Dance Company — all organisations that have benefited from the collaboration of business and art.

Illustrators Karabo Poppy Moletsane, Imile Wepener, Ndumiso Nyoni, Johan de Lange and Ben Grib were commissioned to visually narrate some of Basa’s most significant milestones.

The trophies are adorned with their illustrations.

The 2017 judging panel comprised a variety of business and arts leaders including Mastrantonio group of companies co-founder and CEO Gianni Mariano; Basa board member and awards chairman Dali Tambo; media and heritage tourism entrepreneur Mandie van der Spuy; arts consultant and Basa board member Kojo Baffoe, who is founder of Project Fable and a KayaFM presenter; Field Band Foundation CEO Nicolette du Plessis; Boondoggle SA business development director Theresho Selesho; arts and culture journalist Christina Kennedy and Market Theatre Foundation CEO Ismail Mahomed.

Sachs acquired some of his most precious South African artworks while in exile during the 1980s

The winners of the Innovation Award were Friends of Johannesburg Art Gallery for The Evidence of Things Not Seen exhibition and Visible Tones online and social media project.

The First Time Sponsor Award went to Flanagan & Gerard Investments for the Springs Mall Artwork Project.

The Increasing Access to the Arts Award went to the South African Taxi Foundation for the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award.

The Beyond Borders Partnership Award was presented to Standard Bank for the Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning exhibition, which was on show at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg in 2016.

Sasol won the Long-Term Partnership Award for Sasol New Signatures. The Media Sponsorship Award went to M-Net and DStv for The Cape Town Carnival. The Strategic Project Award was won by GE Africa Innovation Centre for localisation and industrial design.

The Small Business Award went to Mathews and Associates Architects for Cool Capital #saadjies. The Sponsorship In Kind Award was won by Classic FM for the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble’s annual concert in the Linder Auditorium. Rand Merchant Bank received the Development Award for the Kickstarter Creative Arts project.

The Cultural Tourism Award, supported by Nedbank, was presented to Gooderson Kloppenheim Country Estate Hotel for the My Body My Space Public Arts Festival 2016.

The Special Awards were selected by the Basa board and celebrate remarkable contributions by individuals, businesses and organisations to the sustainability of SA’s arts.

The awards highlight the absolute need to ensure the arts remain integral to our society

Judge Albie Sachs was named the 2017 Art Champion, while the Chairman’s Premier Award went to Webber Wentzel for pro bono legal service offered to the Gerard Sekoto Foundation from 1986 to 2017. Pro Helvetia was honoured with the Diplomacy in the Arts Award for continuing support of arts projects in Southern Africa.

Sachs’s appreciation for art began as a child. He acquired some of his most precious South African artworks while in exile during the 1980s. A highlight of his involvement and support for the arts is the Constitutional Court Art Collection.

In 1994, when he was appointed to the Constitutional Court, Sachs and colleague Judge Yvonne Mokgoro sought the input of dozens of artists — local and international, renowned and amateur — as they decorated the court.

The collection holds more than 450 pieces by local and international artists and was assembled as a symbol of one of the founding principles of SA’s new Constitution: humaneness.

Sachs, who serves on the boards of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and the National Arts Festival, recognises the power of artworks to enable transformative moments of exchange, which then fundamentally alter the ways in which we interact with one another.

The Diplomacy in the Arts Award is given in recognition of foreign missions that contribute to the development and preservation of the arts in SA, as well as the continued prioritisation of cultural diplomacy between SA and the global community.

Pro Helvetia reaches most countries in Southern Africa to promote artistic and cultural exchange. While raising awareness of Swiss contemporary arts, it develops and nurtures long-term partnerships, initiates co-productions with artists from the region and organises tours and residencies.

Their programmes are interdisciplinary and exploratory, placing special emphasis on music, contemporary dance and theatre, as well as visual and digital arts and design.

The Chairman’s Premier Award is made at the discretion of the Basa chairman and recognises sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in SA. Webber Wentzel has provided pro bono legal services to the Gerard Sekoto Foundation for almost 30 years.

Sekoto is considered by many to be an icon of South African art.

Some of his works have achieved high value on the international art market, and pieces have been included in private and corporate collections around the world.

Since the launch of the foundation, Webber Wentzel’s legal team has provided free legal advice in researching Sekoto’s life, searching for his artworks and publishing books about his art — to the value of R12m.

 

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