Early 21st Century Young African Artists

Early 21st Century Young African Artists

Presented by MASK Prize, Early 21st Century Young African Artists at the Saatchi Gallery, London features 20 artworks including animations, prints of digital art, photographs, drawings and paintings by 19 Kenyan artists.

Curated by MASK Prize founder, artist Alla Tkachuk, the vibrant and sophisticated artworks were selected based on approach, artistic style and medium. Here, the artists captured the energy of youth, mirrored life and commented on the human condition in modern Africa. They make their art because “Art is where we express our creativity”, they say. “Art teaches us freedom and beauty. It helps us to look and understand what we see and to act on what we have learned. Art is a physical expression of our imagination, emotions and ideas. Art is the symbol of what is possible. We imagine things and make them a reality.”

In Africa, art has been limited or absent in schools. This creates an unacceptable inequality in art participation and art production for the majority of young Africans. Most of them will never visit an art gallery, study at an art school, or have a career in the arts or creative industries. Moreover, the curtailed access to the arts threatens their creativity skill, a key skill to the successful employability and leadership in the 21st century.

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However, with the help of MASK Prize, a unique creativity competition, which provides participation opportunities for all young Africans regardless of ability and income, the creativity of young people stands to flourish. Showing some of the MASK Prize talents, the exhibition Early 21 Century Young African Artists hopes to inform, educate and engage the audiences both in Africa and in the West.

Pioneered in 2013 in Kenya by a UK creativity education charity MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya), MASK Prize reaches thousands of youths from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa. Participants enter their innovative and inventive artworks and ideas in several categories online for free. Winners are then selected by a panel of international judges and awarded prizes at an award ceremony in Nairobi. In addition, the selected works are exhibited at leading cultural institutions in Kenya, UK and USA.

Denzel Kamau, GeopSpatial. Photo credit: mobileartschoolinkenya.org


Early 21st Century Young African Artists runs until January 12, 2019.


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