Cape Town-based artist, 54-year-old, Zyma Amien, has been announced as the winner of the 2016 Sasol New Signatures Art Competition for the incredible mixed media artwork titled “Paying Homage”, which addresses labour issues particularly within the garment and textile industry.
She said the work pays homage to her mother and grandmother, who worked in the sector and were exploited under the country’s minimum wage laws.
As the winner of the competition, Amien walks away with a cash prize of R100 000 and the opportunity to have her first solo exhibition in 2017.
Acclaimed artist, judge and National Sasol New Signatures Art Competition Chairman, Pieter Binsbergen said that this year’s entries reflected a good balance between ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ mediums.
“The artists used many different resources, from a toothpick to plastic and gave them meaning. Whatever the mode used, all of the entrants had something in common: they combined their materials with innovative ideas to transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.”
Amien’s winning artwork consists of three suspended overalls, which are offset by three appropriated sewing machines, which forcefully ‘pin’ the artwork to the floor. She explains that these overalls, worn by female workers and made with gauze, represent wounds and scars and further aim to allude to historical, physical and structural pain suffered by her mother who worked in the trade for over 50 years.