Kurt Tong | Hong Kong
Is Life Worth Living?
110 x 29cm
Welcome to Charity!
We are thrilled to announced the winners for the inaugural Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, Sponsored by EON Reality. The two prizes on offer include the Grand Prize of R500,000 and the Public Vote Prize of R25,000.
Read on to meet our winners, discover their artworks, and hear their thoughts on their wins.
Having received the highest score from our panel of judges, Kavula will take home the Grand Prize of R500,000 for her work Tswelopele (pictured below). Her work is focused on abstraction, repetition, and design, which she uses to create layered and multidimensional installations. Kavula’s choice of material, shweshwe, is a traditional printed textile with a rich history rooted in Southern Africa. The deconstruction and reconstruction of the fabric allows a new design to emerge from the mass of dots, leaving space for the viewer to interpret the work as they choose.
Bonolo Kavula, represented by SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, is the first ever winner of this annual Prize for contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora. She was selected from a shortlist of 30 artists hailing from 18 countries of which South Africa has the strongest representation, followed by Zimbabwe, Angola, Morocco, and Nigeria.
Alongside her cash prize, Kavula will also be offered the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation.
As the artist with the most votes from the public, Tavares has earned himself the Public Vote Prize of R25,000. The award was established to give the public an opportunity to further engage with the shortlisted artworks, and have their say. Tavares received the award for his work, Sóia dona mu Retratos pra inglês ver Serie (pictured below). His work reflects on the African diaspora and the rhythms of communities that overlap time and place, and dilutes the watertight borders between domains.
The title is based on an old Portuguese idiomatic expression “This is only for English to see!” (“para inglês ver”) that originated around 1830 when England demanded Brazil make laws that prevented the slave trade. But those laws had little or no impact. Nowadays a “para inglês ver” project is one which, from the outside, appears to address a problem, but which in practice is merely a superficial change. For Tavares, it is about remembering the plantations in São Tomé and the period after the abolition of slavery.
Over 2,000 votes were received from voters online and in-person at the exhibition at Norval Foundation, Cape Town.
Thank you to everyone to all their support of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize. A special thank you goes out to our judging panel, including writer, curator and museum director, David Elliott; Exhibitions Director at MACAAL, Janine Gaëlle Dieudji; curator at Norval Foundation, Khanya Mashabela; curator and art consultant, Marie-Ann Yemsi; and Director and CEO of the Design Museum, London, Tim Marlow.
We are also very excited to announce that the Benefit Auction, hosted by Sotheby’s, was launched on 15 February during an event at Norval Foundation. The event was well attended by VIP guests, judges, nominators, and Cape Town-based finalists. You can visit the auction website and make bids here.
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