The Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art has awarded US$10,000 to three outstanding artists from the 2022 edition of its competition. The three finalists include 2nd runner-up, Dela Anyah from Ghana who received US$2,000; 1st runner-up, Odinakachi Okoroafor from Nigeria who also received US$3,000; and the ultimate winner from Mali, Daouda Traoré, who won US$5,000.
In all, over 170 artists aged between 18 and 40 were selected across West Africa, and were given the opportunity to present their works for a chance to win a prize in the 2022 edition of the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art.
Out of the total artists that participated, 12 were selected and later screened to get to the final best three with the help of an independent jury. The winners were selected based on the trajectory of their work and their artistic statement. The prize was limited to paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, carvings and installations.
Commenting on the prizes, Founder of Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art, Professor Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, said African arts are sought-after on the art market according to research, hence the need for artists to be given the needed support to meet demand.
He added that the art industry is gradually improving due to increasing support for artists: “In all, I think African arts are in high demand, so we always want to find the best and the brightest artists and help them to basically continue to do what they are doing”.
Inspired by the world’s most famous art prize, UK’s Turner Prize, he said Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art aims to encourage talented West African artists to pursue their dreams by supporting them in building sustainable careers in art. He added that all the shortlisted artists will benefit from the prize’s unique creative accelerator programme. The programme provides intense practical training, mentoring and exposure to global best practices to help artists build sustainable artistic ways of doing things.
About the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art
The Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art is the flagship programme of the Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art set up by Professor Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia in 2014 to, among other things, promote and advance contemporary African art. The Trust provides its artists with multiple platforms to showcase and promote their work.
These include opportunities to participate in exhibitions, talks and publications.
The Prize’s previous winners and shortlisted artists have had opportunities to showcase their works at leading art fairs, such as FNB Johannesburg Art Fair and events in the United States and Spain. The prominence that the trust gives to artists provides them with an accelerated career boost, direct financial gain and immense opportunity – both locally and internationally.
The Prize has also built collaborations with renowned cultural institutions, including ANO Gallery, British Council Accra, Alliance Française, and the Dei Centre for Contemporary African Art.