20 Artists Race for Henrike Grohs Art Award

A view of the works of Obi Okigbo at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi

Yinka Olatunbosun

Twenty artists have made the shortlist for the second edition of Henrike Grohs Art Award in memory of the former Head of Goethe Institut in Abidjan, Henrike Grohs. The prize is awarded biennially to an artist or arts collective living and working on the African continent and practising in the visual arts.

Over 400 applications were received from 28 countries across the continent. The selection committee, made up of Nkule Mabaso(Curator at Michaelis Galleries, South Africa), Yves Makongo(Project Manager at Doual’art, Cameroon) and Serubiri Moses (Independent Curator, Uganda) selected the 20 artists for the shortlist. These include: Abdessamad El Montassir (Morocco), Akwasi Bediako Afrane (Ghana), Anderu Immaculate Mali a.k.aImmy Mali (Uganda), Aurelie Djiena (Cameroon), Christopher Nelson Obuh (Nigeria), Eva Diallo (Senegal/Switzerland), Francois Knoetze (South Africa), Ivy Brandie Chemutai Ng’ok(Kenya), Jackie Karuti (Kenya), Kitso Lelliott (Botswana/South Africa), Michael Soi (Kenya), Misheck Masamvu (Zimbabwe), Oupa Sibeko (South Africa), Patrick Bongoy (DRC/South Africa), Rehema Chachage (Tanzania), Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa), Stacey Gillian Abe (Uganda), Syowia Kyambi (Kenya), Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (South Africa/USA), Va-Bene Elikem Kofi Fiatsi (Ghana).

The main prize will be awarded by an international jury at a ceremony in parallel to Dak’Art Biennial of Contemporary African Art in May 2020. The winning individual artist or collective will receive a cash prize of 20.000€. Two artists or collectives will be selected as runners up and will receive a cash prize of 5.000€ each. Cameroonian intermedia artist Em’kalEyongakpa was the recipient of the inaugural award in 2018 with the jury of Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar).

Henrike Grohs studied ethnology and was Head of the Goethe-Institut in Abidjan from 2013 to 2016. She co-founded the project Next – Intercultural Projects at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Between 2002 and 2009, she worked as Project Manager in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s Education programme. In 2009, she was appointed Advisor on Culture and Development at the Goethe-Institut in South Africa. Henrike Grohs passed away at the age of 51 in a terrorist attack in Côte d’Ivoire in March 2016 along with seventeen other people.