On Thursday, 2 June 2022, Absa and the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (a.k.a. SANAVA) hosted the 2022 Absa L’Atelier Country Draw. The draw comprised three groups of four countries each – making it a total of 12 participating countries. This year saw a record-breaking number of registrations – 1804 in total – with the top three artists vying for an opportunity to be displayed in the Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg. As part of the honours, these top three participants will be referred to as the 2022 Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors.
“A massive congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered the 2022 Absa L’Atelier. As Absa, we are excited and proud to witness the quality of work presented by various artists, proving the talent that continues to exist within the continent. With this year’s theme ‘From start to L’Atelier’, our goal is to enable inclusive growth and global recognition of artists in Africa. We have seen some interesting pairings from the country draw, now the real work begins as our adjudicators start the judging process. Best of luck to all the artists,” says Dr Paul Bayliss, Senior Specialist Art Curator at Absa Group.
The 2022 Country Draw results are as follows:
• Group A – Nigeria, Zambia, Botswana and Uganda
• Group B – Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya and Ghana
• Group C – South Africa, Seychelles, Mozambique and Mauritius
The adjudicators of the competition will select three Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors, who will each receive a laptop, data and exposure to intensive virtually hosted mentorship and masterclasses geared towards upskilling and enabling them to take their careers to the next level.
In addition to the masterclasses and mentoring, the winning artists will have a collaborative exhibition in the Absa Gallery which will open in November 2023. This will then travel to their respective countries in 2024. They will also have an option to take up a solo exhibition within a five-year period within the Absa Gallery.
The most deserving South African artist aged between 25 and 35 will be awarded to demonstrate integrity in the quality of their artwork. The award is made possible by Absa’s partnership with the Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), and the Alliance Françoise network in South Africa.
Adjudication for the 36th Absa L’Atelier will take place from 13 June to 15 July 2022, led by top arts and culture professionals from different parts of the world, namely:
• Shonisani Netshia (South Africa) – Painter and lecturer in Visual Arts at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg, specialising in Painting.
• Shenaz Mahomed (South Africa) – Curatorial assistant and Logistics Manager at Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria.
• Sharlene Khan (South Africa) – With a PhD (Arts) from Goldsmiths, University of London, Sharlene is a South African visual artist and writer whose work often incorporates a range of media that generate installations and performances that focus on the socio-political realities of a post-apartheid society and the intersectionality of race-gender-class.
• Diane Victor (South Africa) – Contemporary South African artist known for her drawings and prints that explore social injustice, war, and corruption.
• Meriam Bousselmiis (Germany) – Awards winning Tunisian dramaturg, director, writer, and lawyer who writes both in Arabic and French.
• Dr Stefan Eisenhofer (Germany) – Lecturer at the Institute of Art History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (University of Munich) and is working especially on the arts of pre-colonial West African kingdoms, on contemporary arts in Africa, on the reception of African sculpture in the Western World as well as on the “fetish” and “fetishism” in European understanding.
• Prof. Julius Heinicke (Germany) – Professor of Cultural Policy and holds the UNESCO Chair “Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development” at the University of Hildesheim.
• Bénédicte Alliot (France) – Doctor in English studies and lecturer at the University of Paris-Diderot until 2002, Bénédicte Alliot was Director of the French Institute of South Africa in Johannesburg (2002-2006), then Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in New Delhi, India (2006-2010).
• Alexia Walker (South Africa) – Co-editor of the essay collections Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art. Professor Walker’s primary fields of research include cross-cultural artistic interaction in the medieval world from the ninth to thirteenth centuries and gender issues in the art and material culture of Byzantium.
• Armelle Dakouo (France) – Co-curator of Congo Biennale in Kinshasa, Armelle Dakouo has been working in art and culture since 2008 in France and on the African continent.
• Sophie Boulé (South Africa) – Sophie joined the cultural diplomatic network in 2021 as a Cultural Attaché and Deputy Director of the French Institute of South Africa, after having been Deputy General Delegate for International Relations of the City of Paris, for 2 years.
• Basak Senova (Austria) – Curator, designer and one of the founding members of NOMAD, as well as the organizer of “ctrl_alt_del” sound art project, and “Upgrade!Istanbul”.
For further information about Absa L’Atelier competition, please visit https://latelier.absa.africa
Featured image by Abongile Sidzumo – South Africa