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Norval Foundation and The Sovereign Art Foundation launch annual award for artists from Africa and its diaspora

Norval Foundation and The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) have announced the launch of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, an annual award for contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora.
The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize (NSAAP) celebrates the practices of leading contemporary artists and aims to benefit them by increasing their international exposure.

Image: Supplied - Photo by Dave Southwood
Image: Supplied - Photo by Dave Southwood

Fifty-three independent art professionals working across 20 countries and territories have nominated artists to enter the awards, resulting in over 300 online submissions. The competition will culminate in an exhibition of 30 shortlisted artists at Norval Foundation from 26 January to 28 February 2022.

The first prize is a cash award of R500 000 and the opportunity for a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation in Cape Town. The NSAAP also aims to raise significant funds for the shortlisted artists and for Norval Foundation’s Education Programme in an equal split through an auction administered by Sotheby’s.

An additional award (Public Vote Prize, 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.

The exhibition is expected to comprise a diverse display of artwork by some of the most significant voices in contemporary art while supporting arts education in Africa.
Elana Brundyn, CEO of Norval Foundation, said of the initiative: “Our partnership with The Sovereign Art Foundation epitomises the power of collaboration to achieve shared goals. Working together, we aim to further the visual arts across the continent, developing important resources for learners and educators, while also fostering opportunities for leading contemporary artists. The resources generated through this collaboration will go to the selected artists and Norval Foundation.
The finalists’ artworks will be auctioned online in partnership with Sotheby’s, with auction proceeds to be split equally between the artists and Norval Foundation. The Foundation will use these resources to assist learners by developing their visual and verbal literacy, fostering their capacity for creative thinking and nurturing empathy, while empowering educators.

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

The online entries will now be shortlisted, and the final winners determined by an expert judging panel comprising of: 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; Tanya Mashabela, Curator at Norval Foundation; and Marie-Ann Yemsi, Curator and art consultant.

The names of the 30 shortlisted artists will be announced in October 2021.

Information about the nomination and entry process, as well as the full nominator list, terms and conditions and full schedule of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize are available on the SAF website and Norval Foundation website.
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