The Absa L'Atelier art competition is one of Africa’s most prestigious and longest-running art awards series. 2019 sees the 34th year of the competition. As a way of building on the Absa L’Atelier’s legacy, and to ensure that it remains at the cutting edge of the evolving art world, changes were introduced this year where the entire adjudication process was streamlined through an online platform for the first time. The 4th Industrial Revolution signals a new era of shared prosperity, agility and driving a sustainable future, which is why the competition has seen various adaptations this year.
The Absa L’Atelier art competition embraces emerging artists across the African continent and provides these young artists with the support, recognition and exposure needed to grow their careers. There are 12 countries that form part of the Absa L’Atelier. The countries are randomly divided into three groups of four countries each. The winner of each group is referred to as the Absa L’Atelier Ambassador. In addition, there is a fourth category: the Gerard Sekoto Award.
The 2019 Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors are afforded the opportunity to develop their talents abroad with a one-month residency in Paris in March 2020 where they will be mentored by partners from the Cité Internationale des Arts. Thereafter, the Ambassadors return to South Africa for a three-month residency with the University of Pretoria (one month) and the Nirox Foundation (two months).
The Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award winning artist will enjoy a three-month residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in 2020 and a travelling exhibition through the Alliance Française network in South Africa in 2021.
The winning 2019 Absa L’Atelier artworks can be viewed in the Absa Art Gallery in Johannesburg until 25 October 2019. Thereafter each artist will be working towards their own collaborative art exhibition which will be on show in the Absa Art Gallery and will travel thereafter.