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The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2024 Shortlist Announcement

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The Norval Foundation together with the Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) have announced the shortlisted candidates for the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize (NSAAP) 2024. This is an annual award for contemporary artists from Africa and the diaspora.

A board of independent arts professionals comprising of curators, writers and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions received 375 entries and as it stands there are 30 finalists, representing 18 different countries. The panel of five world-class art specialists includes writer and researcher  Ashraf Jamal – from the ArtBankSA and University of Johannesburg; Heba El Kayal  who is the Chief Curatorial Consultant at Norval Foundation; Marie-Ann Yemsi – independent Exhibition Curator and Contemporary Art Consultant; Ngaire Blankenberg – Founder and Director, Institute for Creative Repair; and Sean O’Toole – Writer, Editor and Curator.

Image courtesy of Bonolo Kavula’s Instagram

One of the judges, Marie-Ann Yemsi, has been a member of the jury for this prize since the very first time the prize was awarded. Since then, there has been a growth in the number of artists interested in affiliating themselves with the prize both in the continent and the diaspora. Selected by an ever-expanding network of expert nominators whose vision and expertise are decisive; this 2024 edition is rich and exciting, with artists from a wide range of horizons, with a significant presence of women artists.

This is the prize’s third edition and is is a delight to note the decisive impact of NSAAP on the development of the careers of the first two winners, and the very positive spin-offs for the finalists in terms of visibility for their work.

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize celebrates the practices of leading contemporary artists and aims to benefit them by further increasing their exposure to an international audience. The Grand Prize cash award has been increased to US$35,000 for 2024; this is granted to the artist selected by the panel of judges, together with a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa.

A list of the shortlisted candidates, Image courtesy of Norval Foundation’s Instagram

The shortlisted artworks will be presented to the public in a Finalists Exhibition at Norval Foundation from 14 February – 15 May 2024. Here, in-person and online visitors will be invited to vote for their favourite artist and the artist with the most votes will be awarded the Public Vote Prize of US$2,000.

The Prize aims to raise significant funds for the shortlisted artists and for Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre in an equal split through an online auction hosted by Sotheby’s (13 – 20 February). There will be an auction launch and exhibition opening on 13 February, at which the Grand Prize Winner will be announced.


Lelethu Sobekwa was born in Gqeberha, South Africa. She holds a BA Honours in English and an MA in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University. Lelethu currently writes for Art News Africa.

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