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BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO ART (article first published : 2003-11-11)

Some 66 pieces of art from 36 local artists are currently on display at Signature House – the corporate head office of British American Tobacco South Africa. The exhibition is the starting point of a R500 000 investment in local art as part of the company’s corporate art collection.

Artists represented include Durban’s Jeremy Wafer as well as that of equally well-known artists such as Andre Naude, Jurgen Schadeberg, Sam Nhengthwa, Walter Oltmann, Doreen Southwood (recent winner of the Kebble Awards); Kim Lieberman and Dominic Tshabangu.

The week-long exhibition of relevant artworks reflecting the company’s overall image and guiding principles encompasses all aspects of visual arts including paintings, photography, print, crafts, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media.

The uniqueness of this exhibition is the fact that staff members have been invited to rate and select the various artworks on display from which the final choice will be made. The criteria – the art must correspond with the British American Tobacco South Africa brand of today .. and tomorrow.

In addition to the pieces sourced, the company commissioned the making up of four large cigarette boxes from community beading project - Monkey Biz. A stainless steel sculpture by well renowned local artist, Keith Calder, was also commissioned, based on one of the company’s guiding principles – enterprising spirit – that reflects the core values of team work, achievement and trust.

British American Tobacco South Africa’s decision to start building a corporate art collection was made as a means to further strengthen and articulate the corporate brand. An art policy has been developed that aligns with the corporate brand policy. This provides guidelines for the role that art would play at British American Tobacco South Africa. The art should be passionate, engaging, vibrant, uplifting, contemporary, diverse and – most importantly – non elitist.

According to Fay Kajee, communications manager, “It is intended that the corporate art collection be a window into the soul of the British American Tobacco South Africa brand. The art has been carefully chosen to project the character of our corporate brand, in true celebration of our diversity.” The final pieces chosen will be displayed at the head office to inspire people’s creativity and originality.

More information from Dorria Watt on 021 782 4117, fax 021 782 4127 or cell 082 568 5498 or email : kccomm@mweb.co.za




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