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Nelly Guambe wins the inaugural edition of EPI held in Harare, Zimbabwe.

First Prize:  Nelly Guambe (Mozambique)

Second Prize: Epheas Maposa (Zimbabwe)

Third Prize: Surafel Amare (Ethiopia).

Honourable Mentions: Kaloki Nyamai (Kenya), Pebofatso Mokoena (South Africa) and Catheris Mondombo (DRC) were listed as Honourable Mentions.

First Floor Gallery Harare – First Solo residency prize: Leayne Tilahun (Ethiopia)

Rwandair special award: Amanda Mushate (Zimbabwe)

Nelly Guambe, Winner of the inaugural edition of the Emerging Painting Invitational Prize 2019. Courtesy of EAAGA.Nelly Guambe, Winner of the inaugural edition of the Emerging Painting Invitational Prize 2019. Courtesy of EAAGA.

The winners were announced at First Floor Gallery Harare by the jury comprising of Tapfuma Gutsa, Maja Maljevic, and Myron Beasley.

First Prize winner receives a cash prize sponsored by Strauss & Co as well as a solo project at the Latitude Art Fair taking place in Johannesburg on 12-15 September 2019.

The second prize winner receives a cash prize sponsored by ST-ART Africa First Residency.

Third prize receives a cash prize sponsored by the Emerging African Art Galleries Association.

All prize winners and honourable mentions, will also receive personal profiles in ART AFRICA Magazine.

All finalists for EPI 2019.All finalists for EPI 2019.

Quotes from winners

Nelly Guambe – “I am very happy not just for myself but also to represent emerging artists in Mozambique. The group of artists I met through EPI is now part of my community of peers and this is wonderful. I have also met a lot of professional supporters and fans of my work, which is important for my career going forward and my artistic practice.”

Epheas Maposa – “The experience was informative in the sense of mixing with different cultures and ideologies behind the work production processes. Winning the second prizes is most important for the opportunity which comes with it, to improve my production and production space.”

Surafel Amare – “It’s a great honour to be the third prize winner among these amazingly talented artists.  I observe that all finalists have their own unique styles and deep potentials. It has been a pleasure to meet them and to have a useful conversation with them during these three days. I want to acknowledge all the EPI team and artists for your true hospitality, sharing,  experiences, and the great exposure you create for all of us!”

Opening of exhibition at First Floor Gallery, Harare.Opening of the exhibition at First Floor Gallery, Harare. The judges (Tapfuma Gutsa, Myron Beasley, and Maja Maljevic) with Valerie Kabov, Director & Founder of First Floor Gallery, Harare.

About Emerging Painting Invitational (EPI)

EPI is a new prize for emerging African painters will be the first of its kind, dedicated to supporting emerging contemporary painting and painters across the continent.

The “Invitational” prize and exhibition of finalists was launched by the Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) and hosted by First Floor Gallery Harare and Ngoma NeHosho in the capital of Zimbabwe, Harare.

While contemporary African art has been on the rise internationally, developing skills and engaging the international art world is still a challenge for many young painters on the continent. EPI intends to help motivate, support and develop young visual artists in the context of these constraints.

“I consider artists, particularly painters on the continent, as cultural workers, because they are gifted with an inherent capacity to translate everyday realities to visual languages of transformation,” Says Myron Beasley, one of the Jurors in EPI.

EAAGA, made up of 13 galleries based in Africa, whose members, along with invited guests, comprise the nominating committee for the selection of 17 finalists from close to 100 nominations. “This year’s finalists are an amazing group of committed and passionate artists, who show the remarkable breadth of practice and ambition to succeed among emerging artists on the continent,” adds Julie Taylor, director of Guns & Rain, EAAGA member and one of the Nominators.

EPI winners were announced during the launch weekend in Harare 26-28 of July 2019 with prizes including cash, residencies, and exhibitions.

“Painting is still the biggest selling category in the art market, occupying almost 70% of all recorded sales in the art market. So to supporting emerging painters is not just enormously significant culturally, it is ensuring the economic sustainability of local art sectors. EPI was developed with a holistic vision for art on the continent” says Valerie Kabov, Chair of EAAGA.

The Jurors for EPI 2019 are three practicing artists and educators Myron Beasley (USA), Tapfuma Gutsa (Zimbabwe) and Maja Maljevic (South Africa). “The EPI is an excellent forward-thinking initiative. The future of art, and especially painting, from the continent, deserve to take their rightful place on the international stage” adds Maja Maljevic.

“Harare’s socio-political isolation has resulted in pent up artistic energy, therefore, the call to other African nations’ participation is a welcome comparative platform for emerging artists,” adds Tapfuma Gutsa.

The 17 finalists from 9 African countries presented their work at the inaugural Invitational exhibition, produced in collaboration with EAAGA, at First Floor Gallery Harare 26- 28 July 2019.

“Being part of EPI has been a great vote of confidence in my career as a young artist, working from the context of South Africa. Seeing all of the other amazing finalists work put forward for the prize is a testament to the fact that contemporary painting in Africa is alive and well.” Rory Emmett, finalist.

The exhibition opening and prize launch were supported by an international collector weekend, with a symposium, artist studio visits and art space and gallery visits across Harare, including: Chinebiri Studios, Gresham Tapiwa-Wycliffe Mundopa Studio/First Floor Gallery Harare, Harare I Harare art precinct, Village Unhu, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Gallery Delta, Corridor Gallery, Artillery Tribal & Contemporary and Gareth Nyandoro Studio.

“We are delighted to be launching the prize in Harare and to share the city and its vibrant contemporary art scene as an art destination. We are also excited to see EPI develop as an event which will in future editions showcase other African cities and their art scenes. Our work has always been about finding synergies in collaboration and EPI is built with that vision,” adds Marcus Gora the Executive Director and co-founder of First Floor Gallery Harare. “We are grateful for the support of our colleagues, participating artists, local art spaces and sponsors in this wonderful project”.

To be eligible for the prize, artists must be within the first 10 years of practice post-art school, be permanently resident on the continent, and have painting is their primary discipline.

List of Finalists:

Surafel Amare (Ethiopia)
Arim Andrew (Uganda)
Mohamed Saïd Chair (Morocco)
Rory Emmett (South Africa)
Sarah Grace (South Africa)
Nelly Guambe (Mozambique)
Nelsa Guambe (Mozambique)
Kimathi Mafafo (South Africa)
Catheris Mandombo (DRC)
Epheas Maposa (Zimbabwe)
Pebofatso Mokoena (South Africa)
Amanda Mushate (Zimbabwe)
Nhlanhla Dumakude Nhlapo (South Africa)
Kaloki Nyamai (Kenya)
Adonias Ocom (Uganda)
Jonathan Okoronkwo (Ghana)
Leayne Tilahun (Ethiopia)


Strauss & Co, Africa First, Art Africa Magazine, Ngoma NeHosho, Emerging Africa Art Galleries Association, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg/Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), The African Arts Trust, Prince Claus Ticket Fund, First Floor Gallery Harare, Oldenburg Wines, Latitude art fair, Rwandair, Latilla Consulting, Sandalwood Lodge Harare, 515 Luxury Transport and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

Further Information & Images Contact:

Valerie Kabov, eaaga2016@gmail.com

Cell/Whatsapp: +263 775 709 031


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