Judging Panel

The Award jury comprises of experts from different spheres of the art world: academic, artist, curator and gallerist. The jury’s role is to help recognize artists who stand out above the rest, who demonstrate significant potential, interesting ideas, and skillful execution.
“It is significant that this year the panel consists of recognised industry professionals whose work closely aligns with the Award 2021 theme, On The Brink: Visualising Climate Change.  We are asking entrants to engage with the reality of climate crisis and create work to inspire and encourage societal change within their community - and within the broader South African context.” - Jennifer Reynolds

Ashraf Jamal is a Research Associate in the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg. He is the co-author of Art in South Africa: The Future Present. Jamal is also the author of Predicaments of Culture in South Africa, Love themes for the wilderness, The Shades, In the World: Essays on Contemporary South African Art, and Strange Cargo: Essays on Art (forthcoming).

Strijdom van der Merwe is an award-winning South African land artist who uses materials he finds on site to create his artworks. His materials include sand, water, wood, rocks and stone. By shaping these elements into geometric forms he juxtaposes the contrast between artwork and environment, growth and destruction. Strijdom studied art at the University of Stellenbosch, after which he obtained various other qualifications in the same discipline, as well as architecture. The artist was the recipient of the Jackson Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2007, and received the Medal of Honour from the South African Academy of Arts and Science. Exhibitions and commissions on invitation have been done in South Korea, Turkey, Belgium, France, Sweden, Lithuania, Japan, Australia, and Italy and his work is frequently exhibited in galleries throughout South Africa.

Nadja Daehnke completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree cum laude at the University of Cape Town, followed by Masters in Fine Art (1998) and Masters in History of Art (2009) degrees, both with distinction. Nadja has exhibited nationally and internationally and has lectured at various tertiary institutions in both theory and practical subjects. Nadja worked at the Iziko South African National Gallery as Curator for Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, held the post of curator of the Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town, from 2010 to early-2013 and, alongside working as independent artist, curator and art project manager, was part-time project manager for the University of Cape Town art collection in 2018/ 2019.  In 2021 Nadja continues this portfolio, but additionally heads the Irma Stern Museum.

Lucinda Jolly is a graduate in fine art from the University of Cape Town where she majored in print making. Currently she heads up a brand new digital media department at a private film and media college where she also lectures art history to a various departments. In addition, Lucinda freelances as an arts writer for various publications including Business Day and the Mail and Guardian and has her own cultural slot on Fine Music Radio.

Jennifer Reynolds is the owner of StateoftheART Gallery.  Established in 2010 and a pioneer in the online art market in South Africa, StateoftheART re-imagines the brick-and-mortar gallery experience for the digital age, and differentiates itself through full transparency and accessibility.