Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2024 Unveils Exciting Shortlist of Contemporary African Artists

Norval Sovereign African Art Prize

In a significant cultural development, the Norval Foundation in collaboration with the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) has proudly announced the shortlist for the much-anticipated Norval Sovereign African Art Prize (NSAAP) 2024. Renowned for celebrating the diverse talents of contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora, this annual award continues to gain momentum in the art community.

With a staggering 375 entries received, the board, consisting of independent arts professionals – curators, writers, and academics – who have extensive interaction with artists in their regions, successfully narrowed the list down to 30 exceptional finalists. These artists hail from 18 distinct countries, truly reflecting the depth and variety of African artistry.

This esteemed panel of selectors is comprised of five top-tier art experts:

  • Ashraf Jamal, a noted writer and researcher affiliated with ArtBankSA and University of Johannesburg
  • Heba El Kayal, the Chief Curatorial Consultant at Norval Foundation
  • Marie-Ann Yemsi, an independent Exhibition Curator and Contemporary Art Consultant
  • Ngaire Blankenberg, Founder and Director of the Institute for Creative Repair
  • Sean O’Toole, a prominent Writer, Editor, and Curator

Marie-Ann Yemsi, who has had the honor of serving on the jury since the prize’s inception, observed the significant rise in artists eager to associate with this prestigious award. Her sentiments reflect the growing prominence and allure of the NSAAP, especially for artists within Africa and the diaspora. With an ever-widening network of expert nominators contributing, the 2024 edition promises to be diverse and exhilarating, especially highlighting the substantial participation of female artists.

This marks the third edition of the prize, and it’s heartening to see the profound influence the NSAAP has had on the career trajectory of its past winners. Furthermore, the finalists have enjoyed increased visibility and recognition for their exceptional work.

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize is more than just an award; it’s a beacon for contemporary African artists, helping amplify their voices on an international stage. In a significant boost, the Grand Prize cash award for 2024 has seen an increment, standing at a generous US$35,000. This will be conferred upon the chosen artist by the panel of judges. The laureate will also be granted a solo exhibition at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, a nexus for art enthusiasts.

The public will have the unique opportunity to view the shortlisted masterpieces during the Finalists Exhibition scheduled at the Norval Foundation from 14 February to 15 May 2024. In a bid to involve art aficionados, both in-person and online visitors can cast their vote for their favorite artist. The artist garnering the maximum votes will clinch the Public Vote Prize, accompanied by a US$2,000 award.

In a gesture supporting both the artistic community and education, the Prize aspires to generate significant funds. These will be evenly distributed between the shortlisted artists and the Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre. A high-profile online auction facilitated by Sotheby’s between 13 and 20 February will aid this fundraising effort. The excitement reaches its peak on 13 February, with an auction launch and exhibition opening, culminating in the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner.

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For those keen to familiarize themselves with the talented artists on the shortlist, they can explore the complete list on the Norval Foundation’s official platform.

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