FUTURE CAPE TOWN | 16 finalists for R1 million public art competition

Art that reflects 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy

16 finalists have been shortlisted in the R1 million public art competition launched by the Western Cape Government earlier this year, the chosen installation will be built on the newly established plaza, corner of Dorp and Long streets, within the WCG precinct.


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Read more: R1 million public art competition launched

In August of 2014, the Western Cape Government (WCG) launched a competition for an exceptional, permanent artwork to mark 20 years of democracy in South Africa. The submissions needed to  “reflect the chosen theme of ’20 Years of Freedom and Democracy’ but also incorporate the World Design Capital (WDC) 2014 theme of Live Design, Transform Life”. According to the competition brief, the pieces should depict “Cape Town’s rich history and diversity but also look towards the future of the city”.

The artwork will be installed on the newly established plaza, corner of Dorp and Long streets, within the WCG precinct.  The installation space is 9 639 mm x 6 015 mm and is on a pedestal. The construction budget will be up to R900 000 to build and install the artwork. The winning artist or team will receive a monetary award of R100 000. The installation will be completed by 15 April 2015, ready to be unveiled on 27 April.

Read more about the competition here, and see the finalists below.

Alan Munro



“Contemplation” A sculpture of reflection Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in a small cell on Robben Island for almost 20 years. That’s the same amount of time since the birth of our new democracy. This sculpture replicates the exact dimensions of the internal space in which Madiba was incarcerated for so many years.

Brett Murray


“Same Same” These profiles are made from flat metal and have the same silhouette cut out of the center of the metal. Basically two profiles in one. They are each about 2 meters tall. These profiles might remind the viewers of the challenges of building a new democracy going forward, with the symbolic acknowledgement that the past brings to bear on these social and political machinations of change.

Jacob and Laduma

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“ Walking Tall” The sculpture (Walking Tall) is a celebration of the ordinary person’s role in South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. The main figure in the sculpture is that of a young man in the prime of his life, one with aspirations and one who embodies South Africa’s history and using it for change. The main figure is made up (constructed) of 20 figures of which each person represents one year of our young democracy

Craig Cockraft


The theme “live design, transform life” is addressed through: seating, stage, lazer engraved inspirational quotations, music and audio recordings among others. The birdcage is eight-metres high (including the “top knot” symbolic cluster) and 3.6m wide. robustly built out of 80mm galvanized steel tubing with a dark finish. the design includes: seating inside and outside;The shape was inspired by arches and domes seen in and around the city. the shape can also be compared to simple shelter (matjieshuis) and hut structures. the octagonal design is inspired by cape mosque architecture.

Gavin Young



‘Table Mountain as a benevolent being’.The sculpture depicts a ‘nest’of steel sticks enclosing a void in the shape of a person, neither female nor male, and not defining any race. The sculpture is 7.2 metres in height, using 80 steel sticks. The personified mountain is represented by a void.

Gert Swartz


‘ The place of the round table’ The sculpture places people at the centre. Names of those who contributed towards the building of freedom and democracy in Cape Town, including names of those in social and community work etched onto the sculpture.

Leonard Miller



People are an integral part of the sculpture. By public inhabitation of it, the sculpture is in public motion. It is not static. The People’s sculptures is a space for everyone, eating lunch, informal lectures, storytelling, debating etc. the sculptures’ use is undefined and therefore ever-changing. Its functions will be defined as people interact with it. It depicts the contours of our mountains, which is linked to our diversity as a nation.

Liva Dudareva


Sokhanyasonke is a light sculpture consisting of a suspended three meter diameter ball made of golden chrome wires entangled with fibre optic at the intersection of Dorp and Long Streets. The more people activate the handles on the pillars simultaneously, the brighter the ball will be, becoming a landmark in the darkness, a light in obscurity.

Jacques Coetzer 



Open House is a multipurpose public space designed to open up possibilities for the usage of it in a public space, be it for artistic performance, a speakers corner and a tree top bench. It also represents ideas.

Michael Korycki



‘Memories of the past and messages of the future’ hand crafted items developed, rebar bent and welded to desired shape ‘’rusted’’ finish, multiple elements coming together to form a beautiful complex fabric.

Ofentse Letebele



The sculpture is a symbolic clenched fist or ‘raised fist’. It is a symbol solidarity and support. It is a hand signal; a gesture made with the hand closed, the fingers flexed, and the tactile pads held firmly against the palm. The concept is inspired by the countries rich history and how the masses of people have gone through different times of struggle, victory, joy, and pain and praise.

Paul Mesacick


‘Thingking’ We propose constructing a series of 11 sculptural pendulums. One of the pendulums is constantly swinging, commemorating each moment passed in our nation’s democracy as an achievement in its own right. Watching the pendulum swing allows the viewer to gain a sense of the time that has passed – the struggles of the people in that time, the achievements that we have made, and the deep sense of pride that we can share.

Robert Bowen


‘the people’s column’. This proposal leans left or right as visitors cast a vote by pulling down on a lever. At the end of each day, the tower is illuminated from within, and either red or blue light floods the square based on the angle of the column. This is indicative of the power of the people to affect the environment.

 Rodan Heart



Using Maps and Dates to highlight our history:With the theme of 20 years of democracy I designed 20 individual pillars to support the 9 shapes (provinces), raising the landscape above an individual creating a partial shade structure or canopy, ranging in heights from 3,5m – 6m above the ground (larger provinces will use more pillars whereas smaller one will use fewer). At certain times of day the sculpture will create shadows of significant dates on the ground, pillars and individuals standing below the sculpture. The reflective surface will absorb the surrounding content and also place an audience member within the geography and history South Africa.

Ross Jenkin


The 9 ‘oversized stairs’ represent the nine provinces of South Africa. The 20 squares/box beams that reach & touch the new facade represent the 20 years of freedom. The colours and paint work represent the life and diversity within our city and country. The structure highlights simple forms, generated from past outlines, that grow to form a new, simple yet complex almost digital image as an icon for the future.

Tsai & Christo

Y Tsai


The public art sculpture aims to capture the spirit of freedom and the act of democracy. A 100m long winding ‘tail’ extends from the rings, continues down into the public square to form an amphitheatre and public seating. The ‘tail’ refers to the long queue of voters during the democratic election which is now serving as a public seating for the people. The sculpture will ight up at night and become part of Long street.

There are 2 comments

  1. Raffi

    Great designs! A shame that the website doesn’t provide more information on the projects nor the decision-making process… who will the jury?

  2. CapeCol

    Many of these will make for comfy spots for rough sleeping. I hope that, in the spirit of compassion and equality of our democratic constitution, this will count in their favour, not against them.
    Interested to know who will decide, and if the public will get access to all comments submitted?
    Would have been great of this were a vote…it being a celebration of democracy and all.

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