Art graduates sell work in auction fund-raiser

Untitled (Kitaab I) by Kamyar Bineshtarigh.

UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art graduates auctioned their donated work last week for a fund-raiser.

The online silent auction, from September 14 to 16, was held on BidPro to raise money for the printing of a student-art-collection catalogue and for the Michaelis Bursary Fund.

This was the first time the annual auction took place silently and completely virtually with no showroom or physical exhibition space, according to the organisers.

“We chose to go virtual as this would be the safest method of raising funds and will have less likelihood of being impacted by unforeseen Covid-19 regulations,” said one of the organisers, artist Livia Schneider.

For some of the 61 graduates, it was their first time selling their work internationally.

“This, in addition to being showcased alongside some of the top artists in the country, teaches the students more about how the art world operates to some degree outside of an institutional environment. They have also learned how artwork auctions and silent auctions run,” said Ms Schneider.

All 164 artworks that were put on auction were bid on and sold.

Ms Schneider said that because of the fund-raiser each graduate would get a professionally edited and printed catalogue that would prove an asset in pursuing a career in the art field.

“This catalogue can be used as a reference point for young future artists to apply for residencies, galleries, jobs and more,” she said.

The balance of the takings will support the Michaelis Bursary Fund, which helps students pay for art materials.

Another organiser, Aimee Pullon, said: “Simultaneously, the auction, being an annual event, helps to reinforce and engage the existing support network of donors and art collectors, by regularly showcasing young talent.”

Anyone new to investing in fine art could find the experience daunting, but all were welcome to take part in the school’s annual auction and get a feel for buying art, she said.

Another organiser, Jet Withers, said the students who had donated work would have received a real taste of how an online silent auction worked.

“As the graduating class is organising the auction, the money that is raised for the materials is paid forward to the years below us and the students that come after us,” she said, adding: “We have more than met our goal and are incredibly grateful to all the artists that donated and everyone that helped put the event together.”

Dan Tucker’s stone lithograph, A Vision, was one of the pieces that were sold during a silent online auction organised by UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art graduates.