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Bonolo Kavula is Norval’s inaugural African Art prize winner

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 winner announcement and Sotheby’s auction:
“On behalf of Norval Foundation and The Sovereign Art Foundation, in partnership with our lead sponsor EON Reality, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the inaugural Norval Sovereign African Art Prize.”
Grand Prize Winner | Bonolo Kavula, South Africa
Public Vote Prize Winner | René Tavares, São Tomé e Príncipe
“We would like to extend our congratulations to the winners of this year’s Prize, as well as our sincere gratitude to our lead sponsor and event partners. 
“It has been a privilege working with these talented artists, expert nominators and world class judges to create a hugely successful inaugural Norval Sovereign African Art Prize. 
“A special thank you goes out to our judging panel, including writer, curator and museum director, David Elliott; Exhibitions Director at MACAAL, Janine Gaëlle Dieudji; curator at Norval Foundation, Khanya Mashabela; curator and art consultant, Marie-Ann Yemsi; and Director and CEO of the Design Museum, London, Tim Marlow.
“Thank you to our event partners, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages and Steenberg Wines, for your continued and hugely generous support. It is greatly appreciated.”

Information about winners, BELOW, taken from

The benefit auction is now open on the Sotheby’s website and bidding has begun.
The auction will close at 5pm SAST (10am EST/3pm GMT) on Tuesday 22 February 2022 
View the auction website here.
(The Grand Prize Winner’s work has been removed from the auction
and will appear as part of a solo exhibition)

Bonolo Kavula | South Africa

Bonolo Kavula

Kavula’s work Tswelopele, above, is focused on abstraction, repetition, and design, which she uses to create layered and multi-dimensional installations. Kavula’s choice of material, shweshwe, is a traditional printed textile with a rich history rooted in Southern Africa. The deconstruction and reconstruction of the fabric allows a new design to emerge from the mass of dots, leaving space for the viewer to interpret the work as they choose.

Bonolo Kavula, represented by SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, is the first winner of this annual Prize for contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora. She was selected from a shortlist of 30 artists from 18 countries, of which South Africa has the strongest representation, followed by Zimbabwe, Angola, Morocco and Nigeria.

Kavula will be offered the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation.


René Tavares | São Tomé e Príncipe
Sóia dona mu Retratos pra inglês ver Serie

René Tavares

With the most votes from the public, Sóia dona mu Retratos pra inglês ver Serie, above, earned Tavares this award.

His work reflects on the African diaspora and the rhythms of communities that overlap time and place, and dilutes the watertight borders between domains. 

The title is based on an old Portuguese idiomatic expression “This is only for English to see!” (“para inglês ver”) that originated around 1830 when England demanded Brazil make laws that prevented the slave trade. But those laws had little or no impact.

Nowadays a “para inglês ver” project is one which, from the outside, appears to address a problem, but which in practice is merely a superficial change. For Tavares, it is about remembering the plantations in São Tomé and the period after the abolition of slavery.

Over 2,000 votes were received from voters online and in-person at the exhibition at Norval Foundation, Cape Town.


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 been launched by the Norval Foundation and the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF).

Every time I look up I see another layer: Athi-Patra Ruga’s astonishing iiNyanga Zonyaka is in the atrium at Norval until March 14 2022. READ MORE

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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