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Famakan Magassa (b. 1997, Mali) announced as the Grand Prize Winner and recipient of ZAR500 000.

Famakan Magassa, La Ballade Noctambule. Acrylic on canvas, 145 x 149 x 3cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Norval Foundation and The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) are delighted to announce Famakan Magassa (b. 1997, Mali) as the Grand Prize Winner of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize (NSAAP) 2023 and recipient of ZAR500 000 for his work La Ballade Noctambule; in which he uses morbid humour to discuss difficult themes such as addiction, desperation and conflict. Magassa, represented by albertz benda, New York, is the winner of the second edition of the NSAAP, celebrating contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora.

Mabassa’s work fluctuates between satire and empathy as he comments on issues of violence and vice. In addition to the title and cash award, Magassa will be offered the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation, in which the winning work will feature. “It’s an honour and source of pride for me and for the Malian people, I would like to say thank you to Ronan Grossiat as it is thanks to him that I became aware of the Prize,” said Magassa upon reception of the exciting news.

A board of 35 independent arts professionals, comprising of curators and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions, nominated 326 artists for the NSAAP 2023. From the nominees, a Judging Panel, of five global art specialists, shortlisted 30 finalists from the online entries. This week, the Judging Panel came together at Norval Foundation, where they viewed the works in person; they deliberated and scored the finalists selecting the Grand Prize Winner, whose name was announced at a private event on 25 January 2023.

The judging panel consisted of Writer, Curator, and Museum Director, David Elliott; Independent Exhibition Producer, Janine Gaëlle Dieudji; Exhibition Curator and Contemporary Art Consultant, Marie- Ann Yemsi; Chief Executive and Director, Design Museum, London, Tim Marlow and Artist and Grand Prize Winner of The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Bonolo Kavula. All shortlisted works, except for the Grand Prize Winner, are available in an online auction, hosted by Sotheby’s open from 25 January 2023 19:00 SAST until 31 January 2023 19:00 SAST, giving everyone a chance to own their favourite shortlisted works. Please visit Sotheby’s auction page to register and place your bids. Proceeds from all sales are split equally between the artists and Norval Foundation Learning Centre.

Hannah O’Leary, Head of Modern & Contemporary African Art, Sotheby’s commented: “Sotheby’s is delighted to continue to support the NSAAP with its fundraising auction, following the overwhelming success of our inaugural sale last year, which saw multiple new artist records set. This year’s line-up presents a cross-section of contemporary art being produced across the continent in a variety of media, including several artists who are making their international auction debuts and presents an exciting opportunity for new and seasoned collectors alike to pick up a great piece for a great cause!”

A Public Vote Prize remains available for the artwork with the most number of public votes at the end of the Exhibition period. The public are welcome to view the shortlisted artworks and cast their vote for their favourite artwork. The winner will be revealed on 20 March 2023 and will be awarded a ZAR25 000 cash prize.

For more information, please visit the Norval Foundation.

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