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New prize to celebrate and advance art in Africa

An African artist will win R500,000 and the opportunity for a solo exhibition when they are named winner of the inaugural Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, which has just been launched by the Norval Foundation and the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF).

In addition to celebrating the practices of some of the most significant voices in contemporary art in Africa and the diaspora, the competition will raise funds for 30 short-listed artists as well as arts education in Africa.

Through similar projects, including its coveted Sovereign Asian Art Prize, SAF has raised more than US$9 million for artists and charitable organisations worldwide.

As of the middle of July, more than 300 online submissions had already been received for the competition after 53 independent art professionals working around the world nominated artists to enter the competition.

Visitors to Norval between January 26 and February 28 2022 will be treated to a feast of African art when the competition culminates in an exhibition of 30 shortlisted artists at the gallery.

POPULAR VOTE: An additional prize and award of R25,000 will be granted to the finalist whose work proves the most popular with the public through online votes or in-person voting at the exhibition.

Howard Bilton, Founder and Chairman of SAF, said: “The Sovereign Art Foundation has been running art prizes in Asia, Europe and the Middle East since 2003.

”In this time, we have showcased some of the greatest artists working in those regions and have made some amazing discoveries, whilst raising millions of dollars to assist disadvantaged children by using the therapeutic benefits of art.”

He added that since SAF’s first initiative in Africa in 2012, “we have sought to establish a significant art prize for Africa and its diaspora, where some of the most exciting and innovative art is currently being produced”.

The winners will be selected by an expert judging panel comprising:
David Ellio,­ writer, curator, and museum director; Janine Gaëlle Dieudji, exhibitions director at Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech; Tim Marlow, director and CEO of the Design Museum, London; Khanya Mashabela, curator at Norval Foundation; and Marie-Ann Yemsi, curator and art consultant.

The names of the 30 shortlisted artists will be announced on 19 October 2021 and the winner will be announced on 16 February 2022

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