Africa MediaWorks Photography Prize births in London

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Picture caption: Art from the series Malaika Dotou Sankofa © Laeila Adjovi. Laeila is a self-taught documentary photographer and photojournalist and works out of Dakar, Senegal. She’s one of the six shortlisted for the AMW Photography Prize

Britain’s first major African photography prize launches with central London exhibition and £5,000 prize, giving voice to Africa’s thriving art scene.

Africa MediaWorks is proud to announce the inaugural Africa MediaWorks Photography Prize, an unprecedented new platform for artists from across the African continent and diaspora, and a major new addition to London’s annual photography scene.

A distinguished international jury of African art experts will oversee a high-profile group exhibition in central London. The portfolios of 15 African photographers have been nominated by the judging panel, and selected works from a shortlist of five photographers will go on display at the gallery of our partners HKS Architects, in London’s Fitzrovia, from 4-11 October 2018.

One overall winner will be awarded with a £5,000 prize towards a further body of work.

The prize will showcase artists who have not as yet been extensively recognized in the West, but are creating high-quality and varied work in countries as diverse as Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Benin and Senegal.

The nominated photographers are Logor Olumuyiwa (Nigeria), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Etinosa Osayimwen (Nigeria) Stephen Tayo (Nigeria), Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), Alun [Be] (Senegal), Laella Adjovi (Benin), Adama Jalloh (UK/Sierra Leone), Campbell Addy (UK), Kristen-Lee Moolman (South Africa), Lakin Ogunbanwo (Nigeria), Michael Tsegaye (Ethiopia), Sarah Waiswa (Kenya), James Muriuki (Nigeria) and Adeola Olagunju (Nigeria).

Judges include:
• Artistic Director of the Musée de la Photographie de Saint-Louis Salimata Diop
• Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum Martin Barnes
• Co-Founder and Editorial Director of Nataal magazine Helen Jennings
• Founder of Rele Gallery and Curator of the Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017 Adenrele Sonariwo
• Director of the Addis Fine Art Gallery Rakeb Sile

Founder of Rele Gallery and Curator of the Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017 Adenrele Sonariwo said of judging the award: “I’m very excited to be involved with such a great competition and platform. Opportunities like Africa MediaWorks Photography Prize are so important for artists working in this medium. This is great way to celebrate and encourage African artists in the Western sphere.

“Sometimes, African photography is too associated with photojournalism, and that has led to an often-negative portrayal of African culture. But photography has the ability to tell balanced and broad stories from any region and nation. Through photography, we can encourage an understanding of the complexities of our culture, identity and history. It’s a medium that allows us to connect.”

Editorial Director of Nataal magazine Helen Jennings said: “I co-founded Nataal as a way to collaborate with the swell of talented emerging African creatives around the world. As such, I support the Africa MediaWorks Photography Prize and its vision to give much needed visibility and support to photographic artists, both in Africa and the diaspora, whose work deserves to be celebrated. I hope this initiative becomes a meaningful annual moment in the UK’s art calendar that puts new names on the map.”