East Africa

Nada Baraka Wins the 2023 ANNA Award

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Nada Baraka, a Cairo-based artist, is the recipient of the 2023 ANNA Award. Alexandra-Naledi Holtman and Cazlynne Peffer secured second and third places respectively.

Baraka expressed herself saying, “This award validated a lot of my own struggles and hard work, and quelled my doubts. My mind can’t grasp that I actually won.”

Egyptian artist Nada Baraka creates paintings that effortlessly blend abstraction with surrealism. Her paintings are a lively dance of colors and forms usually maintaining a never-ending state of flux. More than a visual delight, Baraka’s art is a journey into the unexplored. She seeks to fearlessly create new contexts and forms that challenge the familiar and draw meaning out of the absurd.

The core of her work involves storytelling through the use of expressionist brush strokes and surrealist techniques to express the fluctuation of emotions stirred by different experiences, woven into a narrative that defies easy interpretation. The central aspects of these narratives highlight the concept of eruption, appearing as distorted forms, body parts, colors, or layers. All of which are doused in a fluidity that is accentuated with striking detail.

Image courtesy of the artist

The ANNA Award is presented by Latitudes Online and ANNA Pure Organics. ANNA Pure Organics is the first South African company to make eco-friendly and organic menstrual products. Latitudes is an online space for exploring and buying contemporary art from Africa. It features a changing collection of art from Africa and its diaspora, presented by galleries, curators, studios, and independent artists. It’s the first platform dedicated to African art, designed to help collectors discover creativity from the continent with ease. With over 1600 artists on the site, Latitudes aims to become the biggest online art destination for Africa. They also care about finding and supporting new talent.

As the winner of the prize, Baraka will receive R100,000 cash, a feature on Latitudes Online, and a whole year’s worth of ANNA products.

OoDade Colour study 01 by Buqaqawuli Nobakada. Image courtesy of the artist.

Every year the public gets a chance to vote for their favorite finalist. This year, Buqaqawuli Nobakada was voted as the ANNA Audience Award winner. Nobakada’s practice involves primarily working with acrylic paint on laced paper, often combined with the use of custom clay or gold jewelry. Her work celebrates the border between the imagination, the mind as well as real-life moments.


Joy Adeboye is a creative writer and visual storyteller. She is a graduate of the Department of English and Literary Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University. She is currently a Writer for Art News Africa.

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