Ghanaian artist Joseph Kojo Hoggar wins 2023 Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Arts

Joseph Kojo Hoggar

In a captivating display of artistic prowess, the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Arts Awards and Exhibition once again graced the cultural landscape, spotlighting the exceptional talents of emerging West African artists. The event, held on 23rd February at BOST head Office in Accra, not only celebrated artistic brilliance but also provided tangible support to the creative community.

Established in 2014 by Professor Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, the Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art stands as a beacon of support for mid-career and emerging artists. Initially exclusive to Ghanaian artists, the prize expanded its reach to encompass all of West Africa in 2020, fostering a diverse and vibrant artistic community.

This year’s ceremony unfolded in a venue transformed into a gallery of vibrant and thought-provoking art installations. The pinnacle of the event was the awards ceremony, where the winners of the Kuenyehia Prize were unveiled, amidst an atmosphere charged with excitement and anticipation.

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Joseph Kojo Hoggar with his award

Joseph Kojo Hoggar, a talented artist from Ghana, claimed the top prize with a poignant piece inspired by an old photograph of his parents’ wedding from the 1970s. His work encapsulated a profound sense of nostalgia and cultural resonance, earning him admiration from both the audience and the jury.

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Joining Hoggar on the podium were Tobi Onabolu and Badru Taofeek Abiodun, both hailing from Nigeria, who secured the 1st and 2nd runner-up positions, respectively. Their artworks captivated the judges with their innovative approaches and profound artistic expression.

However, the ceremony was not merely about accolades. Each recipient received substantial monetary awards, underscoring the prize’s commitment to supporting artists in their creative endeavors. The winner received $5,000, while the 1st and 2nd runners-up were awarded $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. This financial support serves as a catalyst for artists to pursue their passion and further hone their craft.

Expressing his gratitude, Joseph Kojo Hoggar remarked, “I’m happy to win this prize because this is my first time trying something like this.” He attributed his inspiration to his parents’ wedding photograph, showcasing the deep personal connection that fuels artistic expression.

Afia Owusu-Afriyie, a former Founding Trustee, shed light on the genesis of the Kuenyehia Trust’s commitment to supporting artists. She highlighted the importance of investing in artists’ dreams and passions, providing them with the necessary tools and resources to thrive in a competitive artistic landscape.

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In conclusion, the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Arts Awards and Exhibition served as a testament to the rich tapestry of talent present in West Africa’s burgeoning art scene. Through recognition, monetary awards, and mentorship, the prize not only celebrates artistic excellence but also empowers artists to realize their creative potential. Congratulations to all the winners, whose contributions continue to enrich and inspire the world of contemporary art.

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