Spier receives prestigious British Mosaic Award

6 February, 2013

Spier Arts Academy (SAA) was announced as the winner of the 'British Mosaic of the Year Award 2012' at the British Mosaic Forum at the V&A Museum in London. The Award is given by the British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM) to acknowledge outstanding modern mosaic artworks in the United Kingdom.

Four large-scale mosaic artworks were nominated by British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM) and South African based Spier Arts Academy walked away with the award for a 54m2 mosaic artwork titled, Coming to the City (2011). Conceived by acclaimed artist Clive van den Berg, and created by mosaic artists from SAA, 'Coming to the City', adorns the wall of the Nando's restaurant in Kings Cross London.

Created in sections through a combination of direct mosaic and custom-made ceramic elements in the academy's studio in Cape Town, the artwork was shipped to the UK and re-built panel-by-panel by a team of the world's leading experts in mosaic in July 2011.

The idea of site-specificity was fundamental to both the concept and execution of Coming to the City. Van den Berg carefully analysed the characteristics of the London site. This included an investigation of the history and culture of King's Cross as a central railway terminus opened in 1852. The experiences of the many thousands of people from different countries that have journeyed to London seemed to the artist to be inscribed in the architecture of the site. Their own personal histories and digitally aided communications with their home countries are translated through van den Berg's use of map imagery and binary code (10101010).

BAMM Chairman and 'Mosaic of the Year Award 2012' Chair of Judges, Gary Drostle describes Coming to the City as an 'outstanding modern mosaic artwork'. He says: 'The aim of the award is to help spread appreciation and recognition of contemporary mosaic art in Britain and beyond, and we hope to achieve this by honouring a mosaic each year that is truly modern, creative and inspiring. Coming to the City has a strong contemporary design that tells a story that is both important for London today and reflective of life in modern London. The fabrication of the mosaic artwork is exemplary, demonstrating the highest level of craftsmanship and a deep understanding of the richness of contemporary mosaic technique. This mosaic should be an inspiration for mosaic artists in the UK and abroad and we are proud to have it as the first winner of the Mosaic of the Year Award.'

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