SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards

Entries for the third year of the ground-breaking SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards close on 13 February 2017.


The SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards is a watershed initiative, in that it requires artists to produce an original work that can also be interpreted as a decal on minibus taxis. The ten taxis that for six months each carry a decal from a finalist effectively become mobile art galleries.

The Awards are therefore a leader in the global trend towards mobile art.

“We’ve already received some very interesting entries but would like to remind artists who are still working on their ideas that there is less than a month left in which to submit their pieces,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Lishani Letchmiah.

“We know from reactions to the first two Awards that artists are intrigued by the opportunity to mix fine art and graphic design and, as the Awards have progressed, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of artists participating as well as an evolution in the type of work being submitted.

“2017 should, therefore, produce remarkable work on a significant scale.”

The project has been constructed on three tiers:

The first is to provide a solid and credible platform through which emerging artists can contribute to their career building efforts, along with a handsome cash prize. This takes the form of a competition whereby a juried selection of works from those entered will be exhibited in April 2015 at Lizamore & Associates gallery. A catalogue and significant publicity efforts will accompany this curated gallery exhibition.

The SA Taxi Foundation Art Award winner will receive R 50 000-00 prize money, while five runners-up will each receive R 10 000-00.

The second tier considers the role of an artist in industry and society. While most art competitions will look exclusively to the quality of only artwork submitted, which is an important thing to consider, this award asks the artist to address a further brief. Mirroring the role that creativity plays in industry, the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award asks artists to take their own artwork and interpret it further for a decal that will cover an entire taxi.

“In this way they use their own work as a brief for a further public artwork designed around specific parameters” explains Project Manager Teresa Lizamore.

“The adjudicators will look at both the original artwork and the success of the interpreted design in their selection of finalists and winners. This is a critical and pragmatic element since many artists and creatives find employment through commissioned work and in agencies where interpretation of a client’s brief is fundamental.”

The last tier considers the community at large as well as the opportunity provided by this unique sponsor. The six finalists’ designs will be converted into taxi decals for 10 taxi’s each (60 in total) and each winner will have their work exposed to hundreds of thousands of commuters on key routes for a period of a year. Aligned to this a further public and social campaign will target the commuters directly through poster giveaways and other marketing initiatives using the channels available both inside the taxi’s and via social media.

This allows people who would not ordinarily visit galleries, never mind buy contemporary art, access to this critical part of our cultural landscape.

The brief for this year’s Awards is ‘my Africa’.

By taking art to the streets where the majority of South Africans can be exposed to it, the Awards broaden art’s impact on the society of which it is both an expression and a reflection.

Also, by encouraging the cross-over between fine art and graphic design, the Awards open doors for fine artists into the world of commerce. They help artists become comfortable working to a brief and proving to the world of business which, as a major consumer of the arts is a major market for them, that they have the skills to put creativity to work as a brand ambassador.

In addition, by collaborating with minibus taxi operators in moving the art around the community, the SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards help to position the minibus tax industry as a patron of the arts and, therefore, as an important contributor to the psychological and emotional well being of society.

In 2016, for all of these reasons, the Awards won the First Time Sponsor Category of the BASA Awards. The BASA Awards are sponsored jointly by Hollard and Business Day and are the only awards in South Africa that acknowledge business support for and partnerships in the arts.

Before being implemented as decals, the work of each year’s SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards finalists and winner go on display for a month at the Lizamore & Associates Gallery on the art strip in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This ensures that the works gain exposure within the art community, enhancing the artists’ credibility among connoisseurs and providing emerging artists with entree to the formal art industry.

For information about entering the 2016/2017 award and to download your entry form, please go to, or the award project managers, Lizamore & Associates Gallery at 011 880 8802 and

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens.
Sources: SA Taxi Foundation Art Awards

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *