Sanlam Portrait Award 2015 winner announced

08/28/2015 08:27:32

Cape Town artist John Pace has won the 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award for his portrait entitled After the Match (100 x 80cm, oil on canvas).

The award, which aims to celebrate and showcase the best original portrait artwork in South Africa, was announced at a ceremony at the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery in Durbanville last night (27 August 2015). The Sanlam Portrait award is sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth, in partnership with the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery.

Pace’s winning 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.

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.

Pace (56) resides in the Southern suburbs of Cape Town and has been in the advertising and design industry for the last 30 years. He’s been running his own design practice for the past ten years. Pace lives by the motto "mediocrity is expensive" and enjoys painting and drawing in his spare time. He attended the Durban Technikon from 1978- 1981 where he completed one year in Fine Art and two years in graphic design. He graduated with a Diploma in Graphic Design.

“While South African art reflects our country’s social and political evolution, our clients’ passion and investment interest in art continues to grow. This is why we established the Sanlam Portrait Award in partnership with the Rust-en-Vrede art gallery. This competition gives top local artists the opportunity to get invaluable exposure. Investors also have the opportunity to buy the artwork that is on exhibit,” says Daniël Kriel, CEO of Sanlam Private Wealth.

Kriel is pleased by the response the award has received. “When we launched the Sanlam Portrait Award in 2013 in conjunction with Rust-and-Vrede art gallery we were unsure of the response it would receive. What began as a seedling idea became something wonderful, unique and something that we are incredibly proud to be involved in.”

KwaZulu-Natal artist Heather Gourlay-Conyngham walked off with the top prize for her nude male portrait entitled A Young Man (177 x 80cm, oil on canvas) in the first Sanlam Portrait Award, held in 2013. “Winning the 2013 title positively impacted my career as an artist,” says Gourlay-Conyngham.

“It’s the second year we’ve partnered with Sanlam Private Wealth, their support has been exceptional and we thank them for that,” says Hamlin Jansen van Vuuren, curator at the Rust-and-Vrede art gallery.

“Our congratulations extend to all the artists selected in the top 40 and all the other entrants who sent us beautiful work. We have once again been overwhelmed with the quality of work and the sheer range of skills displayed. Above all, congratulations to our 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award winner John Pace,” says Kriel.

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Diary Note:

Want to see the works of art up close and personal? Visit the countrywide exhibition.

The Top 40 portraits will also be exhibited around the country for viewing and purchase. Under the auspices of the Sanlam Art Collection, the selected Top 40 portraits will tour to various museums and galleries throughout South Africa after the exhibition at the Rust-en-Vrede Gallery. At the same time, an additional 60 works will be exhibited at the Irma Stern Museum and the Casa Labia Gallery in Cape Town. The overall winner of the 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award will be given the opportunity to return to Durbanville’s Rust-en-Vrede Gallery for a solo exhibition in July 2017.

Not an artist, but a lover of art? Enter the 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award Readers' Choice competition

For those with a keen eye for art who prefer to appreciate the works of others, we invite you to cast your vote in the 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award Readers' Choice competition.

Launching at the end of August 2015, will feature the Top 40 portraits, as selected by the judges, where readers will be able to vote for their favourite work of art. With one easy click of a button, you can cast your vote and in so doing stand the change to win R10 000 in cash for yourself as well as R10 000 for the artist of the winning portrait.

Entry details and winner announcement updates regarding the Readers' Choice competition can be found on and the winner announcement will take place in September 2015.

About Sanlam Private Wealth
Rebranded from Sanlam Private Investments in June 2014, Sanlam Private Wealth is a member of both the JSE Securities Exchange and Safex. Offering holistic, integrated wealth management services to high net and ultra-high net worth private individuals and their families in South Africa, the UK, Western Europe and Australia, the business was recognised as the top wealth management company in South Africa according to the Intellidex’s Top Private Banks and Wealth Managers survey in 2014 and 2015. With 400 people across 23 international offices, it oversees and administers R240bn in assets under management. It has offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Claremont, Tygervalley, Stellenbosch, George, Knysna and across the UK, Australia and Switzerland. For more information visit or

About the Sanlam Art Advisory Service
Sanlam Private Wealth offers independent, expert advice on fine art as an investment. The Sanlam Art Advisory Service is led by accomplished art professional and curator of the Sanlam Art Collection, Stefan Hundt. Established in 2012, the service is the first of its kind in South Africa. For more information, visit

About Rust-en-Vrede gallery
Established by the Durbanville Cultural Society in 1981, Rust-en-Vrede is home to an art gallery, clay museum, various art studios and the YOCO Eatery. The well-established art gallery showcases exemplary works by local and international artists. With a long standing history, the complex was originally built in the 1840s as a prison and police headquarters, and was declared a national monument in 1984. For more information visit

For more information, interview requests or to obtain high-res images of the top 40 artwork kindly contact Palesa Mapheella on 021 469 1605 or

Palesa Mapheelle
021 469 1605 | 071 128 3250 | 22 Lawley Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925 | @atmospherecomms
Related Venue:
Sanlam Art Gallery, 2 Strand Road Bellville Cape Town Western Cape South Africa