The winning pen drawing done by Samukelo Gasa in 2017 was only the second he had ever done in pen.
The winning pen drawing done by Samukelo Gasa in 2017 was only the second he had ever done in pen.

Winning ways with a pen

By Tanya Waterworth Time of article published Apr 3, 2021

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Durban - Winning the inaugural Bic Art Master in 2017 gave Samukelo Gasa a new confidence in his artistic skills.

Gasa, 33, a Durban-based civil engineer by day, grew up in Pietermaritzburg but had never received any formal art training, nor did he do art at high school because it was not offered as a subject.

This week the 2021 Bic Art Master competition was launched across Africa and for the first time, invites entries from Middle East artists. Gasa recalled the excitement of being announced as the winner in 2017 for his blue pen drawing, Crying Boy.

Civil engineer and artist Samukelo Gasa said winning in 2017 gave him confidence in his art.

During that year, he had also gathered a huge following on social media for his charcoal graphite, pencil, pen and paint artworks.

"I couldn't believe it when I was told I had won first place, I was very excited. That was the second pen drawing I had ever done. The first one was terrible.

"Winning the competition made me realise that I did have potential to be a good artist. I realised not only can I do pen, but I can also work in other mediums. I want to explore and do a variety of artworks," said Gasa this week. He said he spent the lockdown year building up a portfolio of work, which he would love to see in an exhibition.

Another drawing by Samukelo Gasa showing his attention to detail.

He particularly enjoys working in monochrome graphite and charcoal and is inspired by what he sees around him. When he was younger, he followed the work of another well-known Pietermaritzburg artist, Siyabonga Sikhosana.

Samukelo Gasa also enjoys using paint.

"I admired our local artists like Siyabonga Sikhosana who was a bit older and I used to look a lot at his artworks. I've always tried to challenge myself and want to come up with something a bit different. I want to reproduce what I'm thinking," said Gasa.

In a press release launching this year's competition, the company said there were “immensely talented people” in these regions and the contest "plans to recognise and celebrate these artists".

This year's theme is "Enchant Everyday Life" and artists can submit a maximum of three original artworks by May 31.

The grand prize is $2 000, a personalised online gallery and the opportunity to be featured as part of the BIC Art Collection. Second prize is $1 000 and third will receive a $500 cash prize. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges, including a mix of artists, sculptors, art professors and art collectors.

For terms and conditions and information, go to

The Independent on Saturday

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