4 July 2023

Absa L'Atelier, a leading Pan-African art competition, in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), is thrilled to announce the successful completion of the 2023 Absa L'Atelier Country Draw. This event marks a significant milestone in the competition's rich history, now in its 37th year, as it continues to provide a platform for emerging artists in those countries across the African continent where Absa has a presence to showcase their talent.

During the draw, the countries that will be participating in this year's competition were unveiled, creating anticipation for a diverse and captivating showcase of artistic expression.

The participating countries for Absa L'Atelier 2023 include:

  • Group A: Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Mauritius
  • Group B: Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Seychelles
  • Group C: Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa and Nigeria

Dr Paul Bayliss, Senior Specialist, Absa Art, and Museum Curator, expressed his enthusiasm for this year’s competition. “We are delighted with the great amount of interest we have received for this year’s competition, with entrants from all 12 participating countries. We’re looking forward to the day of the announcement and support from the artists.”

“The Absa L'Atelier has been a vital platform for artists across Africa serving as a catalyst for creativity, enabling emerging talents to gain recognition and make their mark in the global art scene. We are thrilled to reveal the participating countries for the 2023 edition and look forward to witnessing the incredible artworks that will emerge from this culturally diverse and inspiring collective,” continued Bayliss.

The adjudication process will commence in July until the end of August. The adjudicators will select three Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors to be announced in September, one from each of the groups, who will each receive a laptop, data and exposure to intensive virtually hosted mentorship and masterclasses geared towards upskilling and enabling them to take their careers to the next level.

In addition to the masterclasses and mentoring, the winning artists will have a collaborative exhibition in the Absa Gallery which will open in November 2024. This will then travel to each of the respective countries in 2025. They will also have an option to take up a solo exhibition within a five-year period at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg.

Since its inception, the Absa L'Atelier has fostered a spirit of cross-cultural exchange and artistic growth, nurturing emerging artists and encouraging them to push boundaries and explore new artistic frontiers. The competition has become an essential steppingstone for artists in their journey towards establishing themselves as influential figures in the art world.

The Absa L'Atelier 2023 promises to build upon this legacy, providing a platform for the selected artists to captivate audiences with their unique perspectives, narratives, and artistic visions.