This year, in spite of the global pandemic, the Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art has held a successful fifth season of the eponymous prize, bringing to the fore compelling creativity and storytelling like never seen before with 266 applications from 14 West African countries.
The KPrize is a bi-annual art competition aimed at identifying, awarding and empowering upcoming and mid-career artists with a vision to globally advance contemporary African Art.
The KPrize Grand Jury is made up of seasoned artists, art collectors and art professionals in West Africa: Sonia Lawson (Togo), Director Palais de Lomé; Azu Nwagbogu (Nigeria), Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF); Nu Barretto (Guinea Bissau/France), Award Winning Artist; Zohra Opoku (Ghana), Award Winning Artist; and kąrî’kạchä seid’ou (Ghana), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), have identified Lois Arde-Acquah (Ghana) as winner of the 2020 Kuenyehia Prize (KPrize).
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Art graduate is best known for her laborious process of hand drawings in her intricate monochrome patterns. Her performances and installations – centred around her own body – explore the idea of ‘repetition’. With time, her initial process of hand-drawing with black markers has evolved into cutting out patterns from black synthetic leather.
“I am particularly drawn toward a physically, mentally and emotionally draining process. One that demands a painstaking dedication of oneself to create something. A process that is difficult, ‘hard’ and almost impossible to achieve. One that is tiring and leads to boredom,” she explains.
She joins Kwame Akoto-Bamfo (2015 winner), Bright Ackwerh (2016 winner), Nana Opoku (2017 winner) and Yaw Owusu (2018 winner). Also awarded were Opoku Mensah (Ghana), as 1st runner-up; and Chinwe Chigbu (Nigeria), 2nd runner-up. They will respectively receive training, cash prizes, and art supplies with an estimated value of US$5,000, US$3,000 and US$2,000.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony and exhibition featuring the 12 2020 shortlisted artists have been postponed to 2021 – on a date that will be communicated soon.