RMB’s 2021 talent unlocked open call - Bubblegum Club

RMB’s 2021 talent unlocked open call

The past year and some months, has had far reaching drastic and devastating effects on everything from global and national economics, our relationship with movement and mobility, collective and individual mental health, housing security…the lists feels never-ending. In South Africa, our creative and artistic sectors have also been hard hit with insufficient support from our government, the situation reached it’s peak with artists staging a sit-in at the offices of the National Arts Council. “We believe that the arts play a critical role in our education and society,” says RMB creative counsel, Carolynne Waterhouse. She continues, “The arts enrich our lives and are vital to a vibrant economy. Those who are key to their creation should be assisted in whatever sustainable way possible,” and in keeping with this philosophy Rand Merchant Bank announces the open call for its annual RMB Talent Unlocked programme! With a mission of sustainable support of South Africa’s creative economy — this year RMB Talent Unlocked gives women artists the opportunity to participate in a skills development and arts mentorship programme addressing professional practice and developing a comprehensive body of work.

“RMB’s purpose is to liberate diverse talent to do good business for a better world and RMB Talent Unlocked supports this purpose fully” shares Waterhouse speaking more about the initiative. The mentorship programme includes individual critique and feedback from established art mentors and peers with the support and backing of RMB which “values the recognition [they] have received for [their] support of the creative arts, and wants to continue in their efforts to stimulate an support or national creative economy. The programme itself will culminate in a curated exhibition at the Everard Read CIRCA Gallery in Johannesburg, leading up to Women’s Day in August 2021. A selection of works will be sold at auction on Strauss & Co.’s online platform in August thus providing international exposure and potential of art sales for the selected applicant. As part of their renewed strategy Rand Merchant Bank has also withdrew from the Turbine Art Fair as they believe that “RMB’s contribution to the visual arts in particular, will be better spent focusing on projects such as RMB Talent Unlocked, where the benefits to the creative economy are more direct and measurable,” says Waterhouse. The mentorship scope covered by the programme include up-skilling the successful applicant in artwork production, audience development, financial management, proposal writing, and entrepreneurship.


RMB Talent Unlocked is an intensive programme. Successful applicants must be dedicated, respectful of deadlines and motivated to learn the business of the arts, whilst enriching and strengthening their artistic practice.

This call is open to all women artists who are from 21 years old and has no age limit.

Applicants who work across a variety of mediums are encouraged to use innovative materials, as the selection committee will focus on a diversity of artworks, from painting to sculpture.

The 2021 programme is only open to artists based in South Africa.

Applicants are required to submit a PDF portfolio containing;

– four to five works around a central theme/concept,
– a short artist statement,
– a motivational letter of no more than 300 words, a CV and biography

Artists should have not participated in previous RMB Talent Unlocked initiatives.

Artists should not have had a solo show nor be represented by a gallery.

Artists should be available for a portfolio review towards the end of April 2021 via video call, where they will be expected to present their portfolio.

Artists must commit to attending all peer mentoring sessions and workshops online or in-person in Johannesburg. Dates TBC.

All COVID-19 Protocols will be observed.


The application must be titled: namesurname_talentunlocked2021 and be no more than 10MB in total.

Applications must be sent to projects.rmbtalentunlocked@gmail.com

Closing date for applicants is 23 April 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified by 3 May 2021.