Western Cape Government announces winner of the Public Art Competition

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, MPP

Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport

Note: This is the press statement that was distributed at the press briefing hosted by Minister Mbombo. Please see pictures of the model attached.

The Western Cape Government is proud to announce that the winner of the Public Art Competition, is Jacques Coetzer, with his rendition of celebrating 20 years of Democracy and freedom with ‘Open House’. This is an art piece that sets out to celebrate public engagement, diversity, and the openness of democracy and public spaces.

As part of the celebration of 20 years of democracy, the Western Cape Government launched a Public Art Competition inviting artists to submit their design proposals for an artwork installation that will be placed on permanent display outside, in the Long Street pedestrian route on the corner of Long and Dorp Street. The site marks a new pedestrian plaza on lower Dorp Street. Artists were requested to integrate the theme “20 Years of Freedom and Democracy” incorporating the World Design Capital 2014 “Live Design, Transform Life”  into their designs.

The winner of this competition, Jacques Coetzer, born in South Africa in 1968 has 21 years of experience as a professional artist, using elements of tradition, music and performance within his practice.

Careful consideration preceded the choice of members of the judging panel. The members were chosen for their wealth of experience in disciplines related to public art and agreed to volunteer their time to judge competition entries at no cost to the Province. The judging panel members are:

  • Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
  • Ms Marilyn Martin, Senior Scholar, UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art; former Director of the SA National Gallery and Director of Art Collections at Iziko Museums
  • Ms Beverley Schafer, Member of the Legislature of the Western Cape, former Ward 54 Councillor for Tourism, Events and Marketing in the City of Cape Town advocating Public Art
  • Ms Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, CEO: The Cape Town Partnership, key player in Cape Town’s Central City Development Strategy and Taipei World Design Capital 2016 Advisory member
  • Mr Zayd Minty, Manager of Arts and Culture at City of Cape Town, former driver of Cape Town’s Design and Innovation District
  • Associate Professor Jay Pather, Director: Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) and curator of Infecting the City Public Art Festival
  • Professor Jo Noero, architect and former Director of the UCT School of Architecture and Planning
  • Dr Laurine Platzky, DDG for Strategic Programmes in the Department of the Premier who also convened the panel.

The judging panel followed a thorough processes to ensure that the best winner was selected against the criteria of public engagement, longevity, cultural diversity and suitability for the location of the plinth. Like democracy, Open House is a space for public engagement, of various kinds, whether it be a performance, a speakers corner, public exhibition or just a place to sit and enjoy the surrounding areas. The steel and corrugated metal construction is positioned to be in direct conversation with the street traffic, passing pedestrians and the piazza behind it.

The Western Cape Government would like to further thank the public for their comments and public participation and we value each and every one received. An overwhelming   85 entries were made  within the 2 month period since the launch of the competition in August 2014.  The judging panel with all their expertise convened 5  times, which included interviews with some of the 16 finalists .  The indication of this total of submissions made by the public is a great achievement for the City and the Province, as it proves  the level of art, talent and inspiration that exists in our beautiful country.

The Open House should be completed by the 15 April and will cost an estimated R893 000 budgeted for by the Department of the Premier.

Open House embraces visual art, performing art and celebrates architecture whilst stimulating different ways of expressing public art. The red inviting colour is a marker for engagement, passion and expression – something which captivates the spirit of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

The judging panel is confident that Open House will be a platform and safe space for all citizens to enjoy, including visitors to our City. We should be proud of achieving 20 years of democracy, and Open House is a symbol of exercising this right to freedom of expression.