Two African Artists Have Been Shortlisted for the CIRCA Prize 2023

Rita Mawuena AND Nadir Bouhmouch

In a celebration of global artistic talent, the Cultural Institute of Radical Contemporary Arts (CIRCA) has unveiled the 30 shortlisted artists for the CIRCA Prize 2023. This prestigious initiative is dedicated to investing in the future of art and culture by awarding a substantial £40,000 to the next generation of creative talent worldwide. The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, coinciding with the renowned Frieze Week.

This year’s CIRCA Prize took on a special theme, inviting a diverse global community of artists, performers, poets, activists, architects, gamers, and filmmakers to respond to the CIRCA 20:23 manifesto titled ‘Hope: The Art of Reading What Is Not Yet Written.’ The result is a captivating shortlist featuring 30 artists from over 20 countries, spanning continents from Ghana to India, Vietnam to Lithuania, Albania to France, the United States to the United Kingdom, and beyond. These talented individuals have harnessed various forms of artistic expression, including the physicality of the body, music, animation, poetry, and architecture, to explore the theme of hope and its profound impact transcending geographical borders, institutional structures, national identities, gender, race, and social justice.

From September 1 to September 30, 2023, each shortlisted artist will have their work showcased on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights and across the expansive CIRCA global platform of digital screens in Berlin and Milan. This extensive exposure not only highlights their creative contributions but also brings the theme of hope to the forefront of public consciousness.

Among the impressive lineup of artists, two notable African artists have earned their place on the shortlist, representing the rich and diverse artistic landscape of the continent. These artists are part of a global cohort of creative minds shaping the future of contemporary art.

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Rita Mawuena Benissan (Ghanaian-American, based in Accra)

Rita Mawuena Benissan, a Ghanaian-American interdisciplinary artist reimagining the royal umbrella, is based in Accra. Her work stands as a testament to the vibrant and thriving art scene in Africa, and her inclusion on the shortlist is a testament to her talent and dedication to pushing artistic boundaries.

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Nadir Bouhmouch (Moroccan, based in Marrakech)

Nadir Bouhmouch is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and photographer based in Marrakech, Morocco. His innovative and thought-provoking work challenges conventions and offers a unique perspective on the theme of hope, reflecting the rich artistic diversity of the African continent.

The CIRCA Prize 2023 boasts a distinguished jury composed of renowned artists and collaborators, including Sir Frank Bowling, Douglas Gordon, Anne Imhof, Michèle Lamy, Shirin Neshat, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Josef O’Connor, Olu Odukoya, Sir Norman Rosenthal, and Nadya Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot). Together, they will collectively decide the CIRCA Prize 2023 winner, who will be announced at the award ceremony in Piccadilly Circus, London, during Frieze Week on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

The CIRCA Prize winning artist will receive a significant £30,000 to support their future artistic endeavors, in addition to a stunning new trophy designed by the renowned artist Ai Weiwei, who initially launched the CIRCA free public art program in October. Furthermore, an online public vote, powered by Piccadilly Lights, will determine the recipient of an additional £10,000, which will also be announced at the award ceremony in October.

This year’s CIRCA Prize was made possible through the support of a specially formed Curators’ Circle consisting of Erkan Affan, Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Vittoria de Franchis, and Sooyoung Leam.

Other Shortlisted Artists for the CIRCA Prize 2023:

  1. Tanya V. Abelson (Argentinian, based in London)
  2. Conor Ackhurst (British, based in London)
  3. JJ Agcaoili & Xin Wen (Filipino, based in London)
  4. Tony Albert (Australian, based in Sydney)
  5. Camilo Broute (Cuban, Dominican, and French, based in the Dominican Republic)
  6. Liesel Burisch (Danish and German, based in Copenhagen)
  7. Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen (British and Belgian, based in London)
  8. Jérémie Danon (French, based in France)
  9. Gabriella Hirst (Australian, based in Berlin)
  10. Akış Ka (Turkish, based in London)
  11. Blerta Kambo (Albanian, based in Tirana)
  12. Keiken (British, based in London and Berlin)
  13. Rene Matić (Caribbean-British, based in London)
  14. Rosie McGinn (British, based in London)
  15. Rashaad Newsome (African-American, based in Oakland)
  16. Joseph Noonan-Ganley (Irish, based in the U.K. and Ireland)
  17. Yiannis Pappas (Greek, based in Berlin)
  18. Annie Rockson (British, based in England)
  19. Gaby Sahhar (French, based in London)
  20. Prem Sahib (British, based in London)
  21. Cemile Sahin (Kurdish, based in Berlin)
  22. Lorenzo Silvestri (Italian, based in Rome)
  23. Harmeet Singh Rahal (Indian, based in London)
  24. Matthew Stone (British, based in the Wye Valley)
  25. Phuong Thao Nguyen (Vietnamese, based in France)
  26. Theo Triantafyllidis (Greek, based in Athens)
  27. Deividas Vytautas (Lithuanian, based in London)
  28. Linyou Xie (Chinese, based in Shanghai)

As September unfolds, the CIRCA Prize program promises to captivate audiences worldwide with its digital displays, celebrating the global artistic tapestry and the hopeful visions of the next generation of creative talents. Stay tuned for the much-anticipated announcement of the CIRCA Prize 2023 winner and the impact of their visionary work on the world of contemporary art.

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