The organizers of National Art Competition, African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) has announced the twelve artists shortlisted for the final stage of the 8th national art competition in Nigeria. At the press conference where the announcement was made, AAF reported they received an unexpected number of conceptual ideas and sophisticated entries proposing different artistic practices in response to the theme of the competition “Future Histories”.

After a careful deliberation and examination of over 100 entries, the selection committee, led by Professor El Anatsui, selected twelve (12) artists for the final phase of the competition. The twelve finalists are: Adetunwase Adenle, Funmi Akindejoye, Michael Enejison, Chinenye Emelogu, Maryam Kazeem, May Okafor, Stacey Okparavero, Komi Olafimihan, Ngozi Omeje, Babatunde Oyeyemi, Folami Razaq, and Sebastine Ugwuoke.

This year’s theme, Future Histories challenges artists to propose innovations that can be utilized to shape and mould the future history of Nigeria. The theme stems from the premise that since artists can document the past and mirror current happenings in the society, they can also predict the future of the society. The artist is able to design, create and narrate a future based on knowledge and experiences from the past and other artistic qualities that allows the flow of newer narratives that are unexplored.

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Members of NAC Organizers at Press Briefing

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NAC organizers Press Briefing

A short retreat organized for the finalists commenced the same week of the announcement. At the retreat, they had opportunities to exchange ideas with each other in an interactive session and at workshops facilitated by leading artists, scholars, and mediators in their fields. The workshop was hosted by Samsung Electronics West Africa and the focus was on digital solutions in art.  The facilitators and mentors at the retreat were Theo Lawson, Patrick Koshoni, Victor Ehikhamenor, Fauzi Fahm, Ore Disu, Omoligho Udenta, Yegwa Ukpo, Oliver Enwonwu, Dudu Emmanuel, Stefanie Theuretzbacher, Uche Uzorka, Wura Oguniji, Olu Ajayi, Fidelis Odogwu and Uche Okpa Iroha.

The last phase of the competition has started and finalists have 3 months to execute their projects. Photos of the production in different stages are required throughout these months and the completed work must be submitted a day before the Grand Finale date. The final exhibition and judging ceremony will take place later this year. The panel of judges are distinguished art professionals headed by Professor Anatsui. Three winners will be selected, and the prizes are 2 million naira + solo exhibition at African Artists’ Foundation for the overall winner, 1 million naira for the winner of most outstanding concept and 1 Million Naira for the winner of most outstanding production.

The National Art Competition is sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc and coordinated by African Artists’ Foundation (AAF). Other sponsors are Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) and Samsung Electronics West Africa. Nigerian Breweries has been a major partner of the initiative for six consecutive years.

The art sector look forward to more support from corporate organizations as activities take new turns and art from Nigeria gets more recognition in the global art scene.