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Emerging Painting Invitational (EPI) is the pan-African prize of emerging painting

Portraits of finalists: Agnes Waruguru N`joroge (Kenya), Dorra Mahjoubi (Tunisia), Elias Mung’ora (Kenya), Emna Kahouaji (Tunisia), Eyasu Telayneh (Ethiopia), George Masarira (Zimbabwe), Kirubel Abebe (Ethiopia), Kylie Wentzel (South Africa), Lincoln Mwangi (Kenya), Peteros Ndunde (Kenya), Sejiro Avoseh (Nigeria), Selome Muleta (Ethiopia), Thebe Phetogo (Botswana), Willy Karekezi (Rwanda), Yolanda Mazwana (South Africa), Tashinga Majiri (Zimbabwe) & Lwando Dlamini (South Africa).

The Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) is proud to announce the second annual edition of the EPI. Inaugurated last year in Harare, Zimbabwe, the prize is the first of its kind, dedicated to supporting emerging contemporary painting and painters across the continent.

This year, EPI features 17 finalists from 8 African countries. Due to travel restrictions across Africa, the 2020 edition will be taking place from the 12th to the 19th of October 2020 as an online exhibition project supported by a programme of talks, studio visits and interactions. The EPI winners will be announced on the 19th of October with the first prize sponsored by South Africa’s leading auction house Strauss & co and additional cash, residency and exhibition prizes awarded with support from the Emerging African Art Galleries Association members.

Works of the finalists will also be presented by Strauss & co as a special session in their October online auction which opens 12th of October and closes at 8.00 pm on the 19th of October 2020.

“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,” says Valerie Kabov, EAAGA Chair. “EPI intends to help motivate, support and develop the practices and careers of young African visual artists. Supporting emerging painters is not just enormously significant culturally, it is to ensure the economic sustainability of local art sectors. EPI was developed with a holistic vision for art on the continent”.

List of Finalists (Alphabetical by first name):

  1. Agnes Waruguru N`joroge (Kenya)
  2. Dorra Mahjoubi (Tunisia)
  3. Elias Mung’ora (Kenya)
  4. Emna Kahouaji (Tunisia)
  5. Eyasu Telayneh (Ethiopia)
  6. George Masarira (Zimbabwe)
  7. Kirubel Abebe (Ethiopia)
  8. Kylie Wentzel (South Africa)
  9. Lincoln Mwangi (Kenya)
  10. Lwando Dlamini (South Africa)
  11. Peteros Ndunde (Kenya)
  12. Sejiro Avoseh (Nigeria)
  13. Selome Muleta (Ethiopia)
  14. Willy Karekezi (Rwanda)
  15. Tashinga Majiri (Zimbabwe)
  16. Thebe Phetogo (Botswana)
  17. Yolanda Mazwana (South Africa)

We are proud to announce three remarkable women artists as Jurors for EPI 2020: Dorothy Amenuke, sculptor and lecturer at the Department of Painting and Sculpture of the Faculty of Fine Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) (Kumasi, Ghana), Amel Bennys a painter and sculptor, based in Tunis and Paris, Tunisia and Florine Demosthene, a painter who is based between Accra, Haiti and New York.

This year’s Juror Amel Bennys notes that the value of EPI as a project is to enable artists: “Not to be trapped in a stereotype that critics, curators, and others in the art world, non-African, even African, expect from us, us African artists or of African origin.

Dorothy Amenuke adds that the pan-African nature of EPI is a way of “Nurturing what is your ‘own’ inadvertently implies building ‘the Self’ for the sake of “the Whole“!!!

EPI 2019 Juror Maja Maljevic “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

Speaking about their experiences, 2019 EPI winners had the following to say:

I am very happy not just for myself but also to represent emerging artists in Mozambique. The group of artists I met through EPI are 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”(Nelly Guambe, Mozambique, 1st prize).

The experience was informative in the sense of mixing with different cultures and ideologies behind the work production processes. Winning the second prize is most important for the opportunity which comes with it, to improve my production and production space” (Epheas Maposa, Zimbabwe, 2nd prize).

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 useful conversations with them. 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!”(Surafel Amare, Ethiopia, 3rd prize).

To be eligible for EPI, artists must be under 30 years old, living and working on the continent, and have painted as their primary discipline.

Strauss & Co, ART AFRICA, Emerging Africa Art Galleries Association, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg/Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), The African Arts Trust, First Floor Gallery Harare, Artfundi, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Angola Air, Espaço Luanda Arte, Guns & Rain.

About EAAGA: Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) is a network of mutual support and collaboration of new galleries across Africa. Since 2016 has been working on sharing know-how and resources among galleries across the continent committed to supporting artists and local art sectors (www.emergingafricanartgalleriesassociation.com)

EPI Nominating committee (alphabetical by surname): Janire Bilboa (Movart, Luanda), Gilles Dusabe (Kigali), Elia Gemuce (Arte de Gema, Maputo), Valerie Kabov (First Floor Gallery Harare, Harare), Daudi Karungi (Afriart, Kampala), Dominick A. Maia Tanner (Espaço Luanda Arte, Luanda), Sonia Ribeiro (THIS IS NOT A WHITE CUBE, Luanda), Marc Stanes (Ebony Curated, Cape Town), Julie Taylor (Guns & Rain, Johannesburg), Robel Temesgen (Lecturer, Fine Arts, University of Addis Ababa), MJ Turpin (Kalashnikovv, Johannesburg), and EPI 2019 Finalists.

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