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African artists recognised for socially relevant work

Written by: Elizabeth Kgabane

Image: Conceptual artist Kenan Petersen from South Africa in performance at Infecting The City, a public arts festival hosted in Cape Town.

For the seventh year, Africa Centre’s Artists In Residency Programme is upholding causes by artists across Africa by awarding artists whose work is socially engaged.

Wanjiru Koinange, project manager for AIR Badilisha and Talking Heads, says they received 415 complete applications highlighting socially engaged artists in the 2018 season.

We generally favour artists whose work is socially engaged ie. that is speaking to, inspired by or suggests solutions to the social issues that members of the artist's immediate society are facing. Gender inequality, LGBTQIA rights and children's rights. These are some of the issues that our applicants tackled this year.

Wanjiru Koinange, Project manager for AIR Badilisha and Talking Heads.

The call for applications was divided into two parts, the Bellagio Center Call and the General Call.

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre call is exclusively for the late career, highly accomplished artists.

While the General Call category is for a much broader community of qualified artists at five different residencies.

The shortlist was then determined through a selection process that included the Africa Centre and an independent selection panel.

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Shortlist is:

1. Akin Omotoso | Film | South Africa

  1. Ebele Okoye | Nigeria | Film
  2. Gabeba Baderoon | Literature | South Africa
  3. Helen Moffett | Literature | South Africa
  4. Juliane Okot Bitek | Literature |Uganda
  5. Kwame Dawes | Literature | Ghana
  6. Olalekan Jeyifous | Visual Arts | Nigeria
  7. Philip Miller | Composer | South Africa
  8. Raimi Olakunle Gbadamosi | Visual Arts | South Africa
  9. Salem Mekuria | Film | Ethiopia
  10. Victoria-Idongesit Udonian | Visual Arts | Nigeria
  11. Wangui wa Goro | Literature | Kenya
  12. Zoe Wicomb | Literature | South Africa

The General Competition awards residencies at Bundanon Trust (Australia), Fountainhead Residency (USA), Instituto Sacatar (Brazil) and the International Studio and Curatorial Program (USA). The Djerassi Resident Artist Program has been announced as a new additional residency.

The shortlist for these residencies includes:

1. Abel Tilahun | Visual Art | Ethiopia

  1. Chibuike Uzoma | Visual Art | Nigeria
  2. Christian Van Eeden | Visual Art | South Africa
  3. Donna Coco Nsofor | Literature | Nigeria
  4. Ed Young | Visual Art | South Africa
  5. Gerald Ralph Tawanda Machona | Visual Art | South Africa
  6. Heran Abate | Literature | Ethiopia
  7. Ifeatu Nnaobi | Visual Art | Nigeria
  8. Ivy Chemutai Ng'ok | Visual Art | Kenya
  9. Jared Onyango | Performance Art | Kenya
  10. Joseph Kaifala | Literature | Sierra Leone
  11. Kantarama Gahigiri | Film | Rwanda
  12. Kitso Lynn Lelliott | Visual Art | Botswana
  13. Lindokuhle Nkosi | Literature | South Africa
  14. Malebo Sephodi | Literature | South Africa
  15. Mbithi Masya | Film | Kenya
  16. Nengi Omuku | Visual Art | Nigeria
  17. Omar Ba | Visual Art | Senegal
  18. Timothy Kimutai | Literature | Kenya
  19. Verashni Pillay | Literature | South Africa
  20. Younes Baba - Ali | Visual + Sound Art | Morocco

Winners of the General call and Bellagio Calls will be announced in February and April respectively, via the Africa Centre website, newsletter and social media platforms.




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