Africa Contest

2024 AMSA Abas L’Atelier Arts Competition: Visual Artists Across Africa

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Applications are currently open for the 2024 Absa L’Atelier art competition, a prestigious Pan-African event. Celebrating its 37th year, this competition is annually hosted by Absa in collaboration with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA).

Competition Structure:

  • Twelve qualifying countries are eligible to participate.
  • Following the submission of entries, these twelve countries are randomly divided into three groups, each comprising four countries.
  • Artists within each group compete exclusively against one another.
  • There is no cross-group competition; artists compete solely within their assigned groups.
  • Entrants must submit a single entry, presenting a portfolio of a minimum of four and a maximum of five artworks.
  • Deviation from the specified artwork range will lead to immediate disqualification.
  • Each group of four countries will be evaluated by a distinct panel of adjudicators.
  • One winner will be chosen from each of the three groups of four countries: Group A, Group B, and Group C.
  • Absa retains the right to showcase artwork from each group winner post-announcement.
  • The recipient of each group’s award will be recognized as an Absa L’Atelier Ambassador.


The competition offers four prizes, including:

  • The main prize awarded to the winner of each group.
  • The Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto Award, recognizing a South African entrant demonstrating continued growth in their artistic endeavors.

Main Prize

The winner from each of the three groups will receive the following benefits:

1. The Ambassadors will simultaneously receive their prizes.

2. Each Ambassador will be provided with a new laptop or equivalent, equipped with Windows and the MS Office Package.

3. Ambassadors will participate in ten online 120-minute Masterclasses over a three-month period, led by leading global authorities:

   – MC1: Mental wellness

   – MC2: Financial wellness

   – MC3: Legal wellbeing

   – MC4: Conflict Resolution

   – MC5: Advancing your career as an artist and establishing your brand

   – MC6: Media training and presence

   – MC7: Creating and overseeing an art portfolio

   – MC8: Fundraising and proposal writing

   – MC9: Art professionalism

   – MC10: Artist residencies

4. Ambassadors will be paired with a local leading authority from their respective country within the visual arts, who will mentor them over a four-month period.

5. The year following the award, the three Ambassadors will participate concurrently in a two-month international residency (i.e., if winning in 2024, the residency will take place in 2025):

   – The residency will occur in one of the 12 Absa countries in Africa.

   – The residency location will not be in one of the Ambassadors’ winning countries.

   – Throughout the residency period, Ambassadors will engage in online Masterclasses, undergo a minimum of four mentoring sessions with their assigned mentor (scheduled bi-weekly), and immerse themselves in the local art scene of the hosting country.

   – Two of the Masterclasses (Mental Wellness and Artist Residency) will take place prior to the Ambassadors taking up their residency, as preparation.

6. Each Ambassador has the option for a solo exhibition within two years of winning the Award (i.e., if winning in 2024, the exhibition will take place in 2026). The exhibition may be held in the artist’s home country, at the Absa Gallery, or an alternative venue decided upon by Absa and its partners. The Ambassador will attend the opening and will receive up to R100,000 for material costs towards the exhibition. All artworks will be available for sale, with proceeds going to the artist. The masterclass, mentoring, and collaborative exhibition will take place in 2025.

Method of Application

For more information,

Application Deadline: May 31, 2024.

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