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An Art Award of Note

The much-anticipated Sanlam Portrait Awards winner was announced during a glittering event at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery in Durbanville on 27 August 2015. The award, which aims to celebrate and showcase the best original portrait artwork in South Africa, was handed to the talented John Pace, for his amazing work After the match. His portrait beat 809 adjudicated entries to the top prize of R100 000. It will join 39 other selected entries in an exhibition to be held at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery until 8 October, where after the 40 works will tour South Africa in an exhibition presented in collaboration with the Sanlam Art Collection. 'I have spent my life in galleries looking at other ‘real’ art. Winning this award came as a complete shock to me as there were some unbelievable finalists,' says Pace. 'I suppose I now feel a little assured that my work is better than I think... I am my own worst critic.' Stefan Hundt, head of Sanlam’s art advisory service and convenor of the judging panel, commended the judges for compiling a splendid selection of artworks. ‘With the quality of entries received this year it couldn’t have been an easy task to narrow it down to the top 40. We’re thankful for the time and effort they dedicated to determining the winner.’ The independent panel consisted of Tanya Poole, award winning artist and lecturer at Rhodes University, Craig Wylie, BP Portrait Award  (UK) winner in 2008, from the United Kingdom  and Ernestine White curator for Contemporary Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. ‘The award winning portrait by Pace is skilfully traditional yet fresh in its approach to a ubiquitous subject that often graces the television screen and newspaper sports pages,’ says Hundt. The Sanlam Portrait award is sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth, in partnership with the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery.