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Art South Africa

Entries now open for the pan-African Absa L'Atelier 2024 Art Competition

It’s a day artists throughout Africa have been waiting for. Entries for the Absa L'Atelier 2024 art competition are now open. The annual pan-African competition, hosted by Absa in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), is one of the longest-running art awards programmes on the continent and is now in its 38th year.
Artwork by Idowu Emmanuel
Artwork by Idowu Emmanuel

Established in 1986, it has built a legacy of providing the next generation of young visual artists from across Africa with the support, recognition and exposure they need to launch and develop their careers.

Emerging artists aged 21 to 40 from the 12 qualifying countries on the continent are invited to apply and to share both their creative vision and latest work with the world. Whether self-taught or formally trained, entries are welcome from citizens or permanent residents currently living in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Gerard Sekoto Award Winner, Bulumkho Mbete
Gerard Sekoto Award Winner, Bulumkho Mbete

“Absa L’Atelier has a proud legacy of providing a platform for emerging artists to tell their stories and to showcase their art,” says Dr Paul Bayliss, art and museum curator at Absa. “It embodies Absa’s long-standing commitment to African art and is intrinsically aligned to our brand purpose.”

“Absa L'Atelier recognises that every artist's story is significant and impactful, regardless of their background, training or journey. By supporting emerging talent, Absa continues in its mission to advocate for artists who are telling uniquely African stories and bring to our life our ambition to be an active force for good in everything we do”, adds Bayliss.

Artwork by Gayi Eric Joe
Artwork by Gayi Eric Joe

This year’s competition is a natural expression of Absa’s new brand positioning, which is centred around the concept that Your story matters. It highlights the importance of every artist’s unique narrative and affords a platform for each to explore both personal and universal stories.

Artists are invited to register online at and to submit a portfolio of between four and five artworks by no later than 31 May 2024 at 16:00 SAST (GMT+2).

Artwork by Edward Lawerh
Artwork by Edward Lawerh

The winners in each of three groups of randomly selected countries will be named Absa L'Atelier Ambassadors for 2024 and will receive benefits that include a laptop, intensive masterclasses, mentorship, an international residency and in-country solo exhibition.

In addition to these prizes, a South African entrant who demonstrates vision and development in their art production will receive the Absa L'Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, which is presented in partnership with SANAVA, the French Embassy in South African and the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud. The winner of this prestigious prize, which celebrates one of the country’s most prominent and well-loved artists, will receive a 3-month residency in Paris, a solo exhibition at the Absa Gallery and three virtual masterclasses to foster their personal development.

Your story matters. Share it with Absa L'Atelier 2024 on all social media platforms by tagging @absa_group and using the hashtag #YourStoryMatters.

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