As part of celebrations of this year's cultural weekend, Gallery 1957 announced the winners of it's maiden edition of the Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize.
The art prize was judjed by Afua Hirsch (Writer and broadcaster), Amoako Boafo (Artist), Charlotte Newman (Collector), Ibrahim Mahama, (Artist and founder of the SCCA), Touria El Glaoui (Founder 1-54) and Zoe Whitley (Director Chisenhale Gallery).
First prize was awarded to Maame Araba Baboa Opoku. Born in May 1998, Araba Opoku is a multidisciplinary artist, creative director and collaborator. She is currently a student of the University of Ghana, Legon, studying Psychology. Her body of work ranges from abstract paintings to more specific projects, exploring the mental health issues of individuals in families and how these families are portrayed as perfect on the outside. An example of such a project is her Children of the Motleys cycle, painted with acrylic on skiagraph (Xray films sewn together with cotton threads) Araba’s works have been exhibited at the Fullmoon Exhibition, Artemartis (August 2019), Afrifem artxfeminism, Nubuke Foundation (March 2020), Stations of Protest, Cult Meraki/Nubuke Foundation (December 2020), among others. She has also collaborated with artists as well as established firms and organisations, an example being Vlisco International, on a three-month residency project on fashion and art, which ended in March 2021.
Together with a few artists (Xane Asiamah, Oheneba-Takyi Joshua, etc), she belongs to an art collective based in Accra, Artemartis, where she serves as both an artist and its creative director.
Our esteemed judges selected Theresa Ankomah and Anya Painstil as 1st runner up and 2nd runner up respectively.
For the inaugral prize, only submissions from artists of Ghanaian nationality or of Ghanaian descent were considered. We were pleased to receive over 100 applicants from all over Africa and the diaspora. with 67 being eliegible for the 2021 prize. The number of applicants has highlighted the abundance of women artists across the continent who all deserve the support and recognition as their male counterparts.
A special thank you to our amazing jury who took the time to comb through each application to make their selections.
The founding ethos of Gallery 1957 is its commitment to supporting and promoting emerging and established artists across West Africa and the diaspora. Working and listening closely to our local community, we have identified a need to support particularly women artists in Ghana. In creating The Yaa Asantewaa Art Prize, we hope to offer a way in which to address the lack of existing support for women and women identifying artists in the country.The goal is to give participating shortlisted artists a platform for their work, and exposure worldwide.