Canada shock Australia at Davis Cup Finals

first_imgCanada’s tennis revolution continued as they claimed their first Davis Cup victory over Australia to reach the semi-finals on Thursday with 150th-ranked Vasek Pospisil the hero once again.The 29-year-old recorded his third successive singles win in the revamped Finals at Madrid’s La Caja Magica, beating John Millman 7-6(7) 6-4, but Alex De Minaur levelled the tie when he recovered from a set down to beat Denis Shapovalov.Pospisil and Shapovalov joined forces in the deciding doubles rubber against Jordan Thompson and John Peers, winning 6-4 6-4 in front of several hundred delirious Canadian fans.Canada will face either Serbia or Russia in the semi-finals on Saturday.Pospisil and Shapovalov have played in every rubber so far with captain Frank Dancevic short of options.“It’s been a pretty surreal week,” he said. “I’m so proud of these guys. I mean, these two guys playing all week.“Now that we’re here, we’re going to try to go all the way.”Australia, who won the last of their 28 Davis Cup crowns in 2003, were surprisingly without Nick Kyrgios, who won both his singles matches in the group-stage wins over Colombia and Belgium, and he was sorely missed.Kyrgios, who banged down 22 aces against Belgian Steve Darcic on Wednesday, was sidelined with a collarbone injury.Canada’s tennis fortunes have soared recently and Bianca Andreescu won the U.S. Open women’s title this year.They are now in only their third Davis Cup semi-final despite arriving in Spain without injured Milos Raonic and with fast-rising teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime in the squad but having played no part so far.Canada beat the United States in the group phase on Tuesday, their first victory over their neighbours in 16 attempts.Their record against Australia was almost as bad, losing all 10 of the Davis Cup ties between the two countries.But the big-serving Pospisil has been a man on a mission since arriving in the Spanish capital and gave his side a superb start as he beat 48th-ranked Millman.Pospisil was in early trouble and trailed 4-1 but he battled back to force a tiebreak in which he saved two set points before taking the opener.The second set went with serve until Pospisil found two stunning forehands when Millman served at 4-5 to claim the win.Shapovalov played superbly in the opening set to overpower fellow 20-year-old De Minaur but he could not sustain his level and the wily Australian, ranked 18th, hit back.Shapovalov gathered himself, though, and threatened to break in the eighth game of the decider before saving three break points at 4-4 from 0-40.De Minaur did break at 5-5 and held serve to take the tie into a doubles decider but Canada would not be denied and it was appropriate that Pospisil, the player of the week, sealed the victory with a commanding last service gamelast_img read more

Neutral third party needed for meaningful constitutional reform

first_imgDear Editor,Constitutional reform in Guyana is not likely to happen anytime soon and if it does, it will not be anything substantial. One night in 2012 after my TV programme at Channel 9, I was invited by a group of PNC stalwarts to have a drink at the shop across the road from the TV station. (I drank Vita Malts). The conversation revolved around the 1980 (Burnham) Constitution. The general consensus that night from the PNCites was that nothing was wrong with the Constitution but rather, those who were managing the Constitution. PPP was in power at the time.Those calling for constitutional reform need to understand the powers vested in the purveyors of the Constitution at any given time. The Guyana Constitution is unlike any other constitution. \Not even the international, developed countries have such an autocratically constructed constitution. Our Constitution is so flawed, that the only time any of the politicians have any problems with it is when they are not in power. The Constitution is designed to benefit the Administration in power. When those PNC comrades told me that nothing was wrong with the constitution, they were very critical of how the PPP was using it.It would be just a couple years after that conversation that President Donald Ramotar would find a clause in the (Burnham) Constitution that allowed him to sidestep a No-Confidence Motion and prorogue the Parliament. His gamble did not pay off and he lost power. Now the custodians of the Constitution are largely the students and underlings of the author of the Constitution. And to many of these people, ‘Fat Boy’ was a god. The spoken and unspoken position of these Burnhamites is that you do not tamper with the writings of a god.One can then imagine the herculean bravery that would have to be summoned for one Burnhamite to suggest to the other Burnhamites that the ‘word of god’ needed to be adjusted. First he’d be ignored. Then he’d be laughed at. Then he’d be fought tooth and nail. Then he’ll lose.Has anyone ever hear a PNCite articulate any inconsistency of any of the Kabaka’s policies? It will not happen. Try as you might, using any amount of logical and intelligent formula, you will not get a Burnhamite to acquiesce to any failed policies of President Burnham. You would faster get President Jagdeo to release his financial statements than get a student of Burnham to find a single fault in his administrative behaviours.And for that single reason, no PNC insider – no matter how high up the pecking order – would dare initiate a discussion suggesting an amendment to the (Burnham) Constitution. Such an admission emanating from anyone under the shade of the Palm Tree would amount to blasphemy, disrespect or even sacrilege.It was this constitution that kept the PNC in power for 28 long years and it is this self-same constitution that kept the PPP in power for 23 long years. Now the PNC (largely) are back in the saddle. Why would any autocratic-leaning leader, from any party, in his or her right mind, tamper with such a substantial document? Why weaken the powers that are legally available to you, when you don’t have to?If the AFC had remained objective and independent, the next big thing in the scope of things, after the fall of the PPP, would have been constitutional reform. One would remember that this was the AFC’s clarion cry when they were independent and free. Now that they have merged with the APNU with big brother PNC running the show, they have either gotten quiet on the issue, or someone is shouting other things a lot louder than they are calling for this needed reform. We hear Nigel Hughes shouting for change, but sometimes your voice fails when you alone are doing the shouting.One would also note that the PPP is very silent on the issue of constitutional reform. That is because they have studied and internalised the (Burnham) Constitution and had laid very comfortably on it for 23 years. They knew it so well that when the Burnhamites thought they had brought down the PPP Government with their AFC-sponsored No Confidence Motion, the PPP whipped out a prorogual clause that send shivers down the collective spines of the PNCites. I bet that the PPP is au fait with quite a lot more manoeuvres that are hidden between the lines of that (Burnham) Constitution. So don’t expect any hurray from them on constitutional reform. Rather, they would love to get their hands back on that self-same Constitution and govern with it ‘as is’.Therefore, any reform to the Constitution will be long in coming and if it does come, it will be only negligible. The presidential executive powers will not be reduced.The presidential non-subjectability to the courts will remain. The provision that prohibits the coalition of political parties, after an election, will stay. After all, these are the juicy parts of the Constitution, which allow for the complete domination of one party over the other and which sanction the inexcusable behaviour of the President, whenever he or she feels like.That is why folks were excited about the AFC when they started making those logical arguments about constitutional reform. That is why they were awarded seats in Parliament. The masses saw light in what they were proposing. They would have been the ones to pressure the bigger, power-hungry parties to make these commonsensical adjustments to this archaic, autocratic, oppressive document. But alas, the AFC has frizzled and has now become silent on this matter.Editor, I wonder if it is not time for another independent party to follow where the AFC was leading? Maybe it’s time for a third party to enter the stage and pledge to never merge with any of the larger parties.A third party would be able to hold the Parliament accountable to the Guyanese people and have them institute changes to the Constitution that we all know are reasonable and needed. I believe that only when there is a third party, Guyanese will see any substantial reform made to the (Burnham) Constitution.Yours faithfully,Pastor WendellJeffreylast_img read more


first_imgTHE boss of a Donegal health insurance company pocketed an incredible 70 MILLION EURO last year in his salary.Stephen Hemsley is the Chief Executive of the United Health Group which has a base in Letterkenny.The American-based boss made a whopping €5.83M every month! The figure makes him the best paid chief of any company, according to American magazine Forbes.Hemsley makes seven times more than the man who runs the global fast food giant McDonalds.The company announced 200 extra jobs for Letterkenny last year.UnitedHealth group, which is based in Minneapolis, is a Fortune 100 company with operations in 63 locations worldwide. It currently employs 340 people at its Letterkenny site processing medical claims and working as IT technicians.At the time of the extra jobs announcement, US Vice-President of Operations, Jim Becker, said it was ‘a proud day’ for the Group.‘The Letterkenny facility stood out for us,” he said.‘Their unquestionable ability to succeed each and every day, along with their strategic location and passionate workforce made our decision very easy.”BOSS OF LETTERKENNY COMPANY HAS €70 MILLION SALARY was last modified: April 17th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Stephen HemsleyUnitedHealthGroup€70million salarylast_img read more

Date chosen to launch longest-flight attempt

first_img Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card During the longest-flight attempt, Fossett is expected to pilot the aircraft to altitudes of about 45,000 feet and at speeds faster than 285 mph. The flight path goes over Atlantic Ocean to Northern Africa, India, China, the Pacific Ocean, Mexico and then across the Atlantic Ocean a second time before ending in the United Kingdom. Last March, Fossett made history by piloting the GlobalFlyer on the first solo, nonstop flight around the world. That flight covered 20,373 miles. Burt Rutan designed the GlobalFlyer, built by his Scaled Composites company in Mojave. Rutan also designed the Voyager aircraft. The aircraft’s construction, the round-the-world flight last year and this record attempt have all been bankrolled by Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire who founded Virgin Atlantic airlines. MOJAVE – Adventurer Steve Fossett is planning to start his attempt for history’s longest distance nonstop airplane flight Tuesday. In a mission update, Fossett said he plans to fly the Mojave-built GlobalFlyer sometime next week, with Tuesday looking like the best date. Weather permitting, Fossett plans to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a flight that will cover about 26,000 miles and will last about 80 hours. “With the wind forecast, (mission controller) Kevin Stass has found that February 7 will be a faster flight than February 8,” Fossett said in the mission update. “Unless a better day shows up in later forecasts, we plant to launch on February 7.” The GlobalFlyer team hopes to break the distance records of 24,987 miles for the longest aircraft flight, set by the Voyager airplane in 1986, and the 25,361-mile mark set by the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3 in 1999. last_img read more

Premier League statistics: Most substituted player in 2016/17 – revealed

first_imgYou can never be certain of much in a football match, but you can be pretty sure these days there will be several substitutions per game.Whether the changes are due to injuries, or a change of tactics, some players always seem to be taken off more than others.It can be to rest a star man, or to get your worst performer off the pitch, but changes can be hugely important in games.So which Premier League superstars get the hook the most? Click the right arrow above to find out… 13 13 13 13 13 7= Steven Defour (Burnley) – Substituted 16 times this season 10= Adam Lallana (Liverpool) – Substituted 15 times this season 13 10= Marc Albrighton (Leicester City) – Substituted 15 times this season 13 3= Dusan Tadic (Southampton) – Substituted 17 times this season 13 10= Kevin Mirallas (Everton) – Substituted 15 times this season 7= Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – Substituted 16 times this season 2. Nacer Chadli (West Brom) – Substituted 18 times this season 3= Pedro (Chelsea) – Substituted 17 times this season 13 13 13 3= Wayne Routledge (Swansea City) – Substituted 17 times this season 3= Victor Moses (Chelsea) – Substituted 17 times this season 13 13 7= Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) – Substituted 16 times this season 10= Juan Mata (Manchester United) – Substituted 15 times this season – Click the right arrow above to find out which player has been taken off the most… 1. Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – Substituted 20 times this seasonlast_img read more


first_imgFRIDAY Primatologist Jane Goodall will lead the ChimpanZoo Conference, 8 a.m. daily through Sunday, Los Angeles Zoo, Witherbee Auditorium, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles. Halloween Harvest Festival, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily through Oct. 31, Los Angeles Pierce College Farm, 6498 De Soto Ave., Woodland Hills. Call (818) 999-6300. LA Canstruction Canned Food Sculpture Competition on display at Westfield Fashion Square, 14006 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks. Winners to be announced at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Call (310) 738-5252. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possibleValley Industrial Association BASH Event, 6 p.m., Hyatt Valencia, 24500 Town Center Drive. Call (661) 294-8088. 19th Century Ventura County frontier life event, 6:30-9 p.m., Stagecoach Inn Museum, 51 S. Ventu Park Road, Newbury Park. Call (805) 498-9441. Artist Donna Weil’s “Weil Wild West” art exhibit, 7-9 p.m., Palmdale Playhouse Art Gallery, 38334 10th St. East. Call (661) 267-5684. Bayanihan Philippine National Dance performance, 8 p.m., College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. Call (661) 255-4317. Mail Datebook entries – including time, date, location and phone number – to Daily News City Desk, P.O. Box 4200, Woodland Hills, CA 91365; fax (818) 713-0058; e-mail read more

In numbers: How Scotland compares to the rest of Europe

first_imgFor reference, they were: Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Dundee United, Hamilton Academical, Heart of Midlothian, Inverness CT, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Partick Thistle, Ross County and St Johnstone.Scotland’s average club revenue dropped by more than 10% from 2014/15 to 2015/16. UEFA does point out one reason being that “one club missing out on qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stage can set the trend.” Celtic were not in the competition in both seasons.It is also noted that, to quote UEFA directly. “The Scottish clubs’ average revenue decreased partly as a result of the relegation of Rangers, one of the two largest clubs in Scotland.” The financial picture of football leagues in Europe is laid bare in UEFA’s benchmarking report, and Scotland comes out favourably.While money remains hard to come by and margins remain tight, Scottish clubs have put themselves in financially robust positions.We knew this from the report in 2014/15 but it is a picture that has continued to improve in the 2015/16 edition. All figures relate to clubs playing in the Scottish Premiership in the 2015/16 season. The total club revenue in Scotland’s Premiership in 2015/16 was €133m (£115m), placing it 17th of the top 20 European nations. It places the nation ahead of Austria, Greece and Poland and marginally behind Kazakhstan (€134m) and Denmark (€142m).The steep climb takes a while to come. Next in line are Norway (€144m), Sweden (€167m), Ukraine (€175m), Switzerland (€211m) and then it finally shoots up considerably at Belgium (€316m). England’s revenue, for reference, was over four billion euros and almost double of second-placed Germany.So how does Scotland compare when you break it all down?The Scottish TV deal was the 16th best in Europe, taking in an aggregate €17m. It sits above Austria (€15m), Sweden (€16m) and Switzerland (€12m). It was behind Norway (€22m), Romania (€24m) and Poland (€26m).In terms of UEFA competition revenue, Scotland received the 20th highest amount from UEFA in 2015/16 at €10m.Fans remain critical to clubs. Scotland ranks 10th in terms of aggregate gate receipts in Europe, taking in €50m from Premiership crowds in 2015/16. Scotland ranks 14th in aggregate sponsorship and commercial revenues with €52m taken that season, a jump year-on-year of around €10m. The country ranked 16th in Europe in terms of transfer proceeds with €19m. Of course, the vast, vast majority of that was taken by Celtic.So what reliance do Scottish clubs have on the different types of revenue? The answer is clear: fans and the money companies are willing to spend to have their businesses promoted by clubs are the lifeblood of Scottish football.Gate receipts account for, on average, 37% of club revenues and 39% of revenue comes from sponsorship and commercial money. Scotland’s percentage of revenue from gate receipts was higher than any other country in Europe’s top 20 leagues.For a league which gives broadcast rights holders such leeway to change kick-off times and dictate schedules, only 13% of revenue comes from those sources.Some of these numbers are skewed by the money Celtic bring in from gates and sponsors, which drags numbers up. Some clubs have told STV that, actually, broadcast money accounts for a greater proportion of their revenues. As a comparison, England’s revenue mix is 49% domestic broadcasting, 16% gate receipts, 29% sponsorship/commercial. UEFA revenue accounts for less than 5%. This demonstrates an exceptional reliance on TV money.A significant feature from the previous year’s report was the high level of attendance enjoyed in Scotland compared to other nations.This was underlined again in 2015 with UEFA recording a total attendance of 2,201,340 for Scottish Premiership games, up from 1,974,292.That rise of 227,048 was a hike of 12%, the sixth biggest increase in all of Europe. While an impressive increase, it should be noted this was a case of “bouncing back” with Hearts being promoted when the previous year had shown a drop by a similar percentage.Wages fell in 2015/16 by 8%. Scottish top flight clubs paid, in total, €87m on wages, ranking them the 16th highest in terms of salary costs in Europe.It is here that UEFA’s report fires a warning on the anti-competitiveness of the Scottish Premiership. The average wage bill for the top four teams in 2015/16 was €16m but we can reasonably predict that there are massive gaps between the leading club Celtic, second placed Aberdeen and the other top two clubs.There is then a major drop-off. The average wage bill of clubs ranked fifth to eighth was €4m, and the average of the bottom four clubs was €2m. That leads to UEFA’s warning, saying: “The difference in spending power in Portugal, Ukraine, Austria, Greece and Scotland makes a league winner outside the top four extremely unlikely.”When it comes to the balance sheets, Scotland is in a very strong position compared to the rest of Europe.Scotland does not feature at all in the top 20 nations in terms of net debt. No figure is given as to how much net debt Scotland’s top flight clubs collectively carry but we can clearly state it is below €34m, which is the amount carried by the Czech Republic, which sits in 20th spot.The picture is even brighter when it comes to the ratio of assets to liabilities. Of the top 20 leagues in Europe, the Scottish Premiership’s clubs collectively have the best ratio of all.Scottish clubs also carry a strong sheet in terms of assets. The nation ranks 13th in Europe in terms of average assets, with an aggregate asset value of €234m.What are those assets? For the most part it lies in owning stadiums. Nine clubs own their stadium. Two have them partially included as club assets through leaseholds and only one has a stadium owned by another party.While those numbers look good, there are some concerns over profitability.Only three Scottish clubs had underlying operating profitability. Two of those were close to the margin, between zero and 10%. Only club had profitability of between 10 and 20%.That leaves nine clubs which did not, with four having a loss margin of over 20%. Two were between 10 and 20% and three between zero and 10%. That said, bottom-line profits were posted at five clubs, with three having a profit margin of more than 20%. But then still, three had a loss margin of more than 20%.In the last benchmarking report, Scottish clubs were shown to have dramatically cut their cloth to survive in the wake of the demise of Rangers.This trend has continued in 2015/16, with operating costs across the board costs down by 9%. The aggregate operating costs of Scottish Premiership clubs stood at €56m. In all, Scotland is ranked 14th in Europe for the average size of its top flight clubs’ operating costs. And those costs, on average, account for 42% of total revenue.last_img read more

Donegal fish processor fined €45,000 for tampering with weighing scales

first_imgA Donegal fish processing plant and a company director have been fined €45,000 in total for tampering with weighing scales used to measure incoming fish catches.This follows a joint investigation carried out by NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA). Norfish Ltd, based in Killybegs, and director Tony Byrne, were handed down the sentence today at Donegal Circuit Court.Mr. Byrne of Roshin Rd in Killybegs was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay €10,000 to a local hospice in Killybegs, and a further €10,000 to the Donegal Branch of the RNLI. Norfish Ltd was given three months to pay a €25,000 fine.The inspection carried out by NSAI’s Legal Metrology division found that an electrical switch had been fitted to the company’s flow scales used to weigh incoming fish catches. This switch could be used to turn off the scales, allowing the fish to pass over without being weighed. Tampering with measuring instruments used in trade and rendering them inaccurate as a result is an offence under the Legal Metrology Act 1996.Welcoming today’s sentencing at Donegal Circuit Court, NSAI’s Head of Legal Metrology, Paul Turner, said it is important to encourage high measurement compliance in trading transactions to support a fair and competitive environment for businesses and protect consumers.“Today’s outcome recognises the seriousness of the offence. We take non-compliance in any sector, whether it’s the fisheries sector or any other sector covered under our legislation, very seriously,” said Turner.“We will continue to be very vigilant in this sector and if we find any further non-compliance in this area, we will use the full powers of the legislation available to us to deal effectively with it,” he added.NSAI was first alerted to this case in December 2013 by the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA).The fisheries regulator had made an unannounced inspection, during which they uncovered non-compliance at the plant. During that inspection, the SFPA noticed that fish were being carried along a conveyor belt and over the flow scales, but were not being weighed. The Sea Fisheries Protection Agency withdrew Norfish Ltd’s permit to weigh on site at this time. Legal Metrology conducted an inspection under Metrology Legislation on the 4th of December, 2013.Commenting on the verdict, Susan Steele, Chair, SFPA said it is an important outcome for the fishing industry.“Breaches such as these threaten the continuation of in-factory weighing for the entire industry, which is permitted under a special exemption negotiated with the SFPA. This facility can continue only while the accuracy and correct use of those weighing systems is guaranteed,” said Steele.“Mis-weighing distorts the declaration of catches and undermines the accuracy of data on stocks used by scientists to determine quota and could affect the long term sustainability of our valuable fisheries and the coastal communities that rely on them,” she added.The inspection carried out by Legal Metrology on the 4th of December resulted in the flow scales being withdrawn from use and Norfish Ltd was issued with a notice to rectify the detected non-compliance.“Measurement is everywhere throughout the economy and it is a system built on trust,” said NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin.“Nobody wants to have to dispute every quantity they purchase. There has to be a high level of trust and ensuring the accuracy of all measuring instruments used in trade is an important part of that system,” she added.NSAI’s Legal Metrology division inspected over 14,200 instruments last year. The sectors covered by this public good service include food production, fuel delivery, export enterprises, taxis and local retailers. NSAI’s work in this area is complimented by a network of authorised verifiers, which supports business needs for a professional verification service arising because of new installations, wear and tear, repairs and maintenance requirements over the measuring instruments’ lifetime. The impact of the inspection regime is evidenced by the high compliance rates achieved following the first inspection.Donegal fish processor fined €45,000 for tampering with weighing scales was last modified: March 29th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

2010 Fifa World Cup: Ellis Park 2

first_imgLocation: Johannesburg, Gauteng provinceCapacity: 62 500 seatsMatches: Argentina vs Nigeria (12 June), Brazil vs North Korea (15 June), Slovenia vs USA (18 June), Spain vs Honduras (21 June), Slovakia vs Italy (24 June), Round of 16 (28 June), Quarter-final (3 July)Click on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.  Photo: Ndaba Dlamini,• Download high-resolution image Photo: Ndaba Dlamini,• Download high-resolution image Photo: Ndaba Dlamini,• Download high-resolution image Photo: Ndaba Dlamini,• Download high-resolution image Photo: Ndaba Dlamini,• Download high-resolution image The stadium precinct.Photo: Emily Visser,• Download high-resolution image   The stadium precinct.Photo: Emily Visser, • Download high-resolution image   The stadium precinct.Photo: Emily Visser, • Download high-resolution image   The stadium precinct.Photo: Emily Visser, • Download high-resolution image   The stadium precinct.Photo: Emily Visser, • Download high-resolution image {loadposition fifa}last_img read more

Art Bank Joburg: helping local artists

first_imgYvonne Mamothusi Harvey – Three women.(Image: Art Bank Joburg) Art Bank Joburg, the only initiative of its kind in South Africa, is providing a much-needed platform for emerging local artists to showcase their work.Art Bank Joburg owns some of South Africa’s best art by upcoming and established local artists, proving that the country can be proud of its outstanding artistic talent.The initiative is now in its fourth year, and in spite of a tough economic climate, and declining corporate budgets for art, it continues to provide exposure for South African artists.“We have such a diversity of talent in South Africa – there are people from so many walks of life and this situation produces great variety in South African art,” says Vishnu Singh, GM of Creative Industries for the City of Joburg.The initiative was the brainchild of Ben Ngubane, the former minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. Ngubane was introduced to the Canadian Art Bank concept on a visit to Ottawa in Canada, and decided that a similar project in South Africa could support local artists.Art Bank Joburg was established by the City of Joburg to buy art from emerging and established artists in the city, and then lease it to public and private sector clients. The art finds a temporary home in corporate reception areas, offices, and government departments in the city, such as the Johannesburg High Court, the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Metro Police and the Office of the Speaker. Monash University leases one of the largest collections.The bank was established in Newtown, Johannesburg’s arts and culture hub, but has since also opened a satellite branch just off Nelson Mandela Square in the business district of Sandton, north of the city centre.Real benefits for emerging artistsOne of the biggest difficulties for local artists is earning a sustainable income from their art. However, through the Art Bank initiative, artists benefit directly.Prospective works are assessed by a committee of respected members of the art community, who then decide if the Art Bank should purchase the piece. If the committee agrees that it is a valuable addition to the collection, Art Bank Joburg buys the art at its current market value and the artist receives payment immediately.Artworks are leased to clients at a fee of 20% of market value, and are reevaluated annually.Singh says that the bank’s main focus is sourcing art from emerging artists. “We want to take their work and give them exposure and access to the market,” he says.The team has never struggled to find good art, either. “The artists usually find us,” he says.On Wednesdays, Art Bank Joburg hosts an open day where artists can present their works. This gives them the confidence of knowing that there is a place where they can take their art for consideration.If a particular piece has potential, Art Bank Joburg takes a photo of it and registers it on its database for later evaluation. Some of the art also comes to them through workshops and incubator projects in and around Johannesburg.If an artist can’t make it to the open day they may make an appointment to visit at a more convenient time.Emerging and established artistsThe bank houses art from both emerging and established artists, in a variety of media including paint, sculpture, photography, wire art, mosaics, print-making, mixed media and craft. Singh says just about any art medium is welcome, as long as the work is not created from biodegradable materials.Work by well-known artists such as William Kentridge (a donation to Art Bank Joburg), Robert Hodgins, Sam Nhlengethwa, David Koloane, Penny Siopis and Pat Mautloa is also available.Leasing art can be a form of corporate social investment. It also contributes to cultural development in Johannesburg and provides good market exposure for local artists.Some of the leased art has led to private sales – if a client likes the art, Art Bank Joburg puts them in contact with the artist for further commissions. Singh says that artists such as John Vusi Mfupi, who specialises in collage art, first received exposure through the Art Bank Joburg and went on to receive international recognition for his work.According to African Colours, a website that promotes contemporary African art, most of Mfupi’s work has been purchased by corporate companies and the South African high court. He has also exhibited abroad in Scotland, Malaysia, Germany, Portugal, Brussels and in the Netherlands at The Hague.For many people, the arts remain a highbrow affair but as more art is leased from Art Bank Joburg, it becomes more accessible. In a corporate or public space, people who would usually not show an interest in art, or do not have access to it, have the opportunity to engage with high quality artwork.“As people are exposed to art, they learn to appreciate it,” Singh says.last_img read more