Absa L’Atelier Art Competition 2019 for African Visual Artists

Absa L’Atelier Art Competition 2019 for African Visual Artists

Deadline: May 31, 2019

Applications are open for the Absa L’Atelier Art Competition 2019. The competition is one of Africa’s most prestigious art competitions, and 2019 sees the 34th iteration of the competition.

The Absa L’Atelier Art Competition rewards young visual artists, aged 21 to 40, with the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. This is clearly evidenced by the previous winners and the benefits and experience they attained by participating. The Absa L’Atelier art competition is hosted annually by Absa in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA).


There are four prizes for the 2019 competition: the main prize for the winner of each Group; and the Gerard Sekoto Award for a South African entrant that continues to demonstrate growth in their art production.

  • First Prize: The Ambassadors from each of the three Groups receive:
    • A one-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris
    • A two-month residency in South Africa
    • While taking up their two-month residency in South Africa, the artists will enjoy a weekly art masterclass
    • A monthly stipend during their three-month residency
    • Coverage of all flights, travel-associated costs, and accommodation
    • All three Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors will take up their residency at the same time
    • While taking up their South African residency, artists will work together towards a group exhibition consisting of both individual and collaborative artworks
    • The exhibition will be documented in a printed catalogue
    • Their group exhibition will open in the Absa Gallery within a year after taking up their residency and will then travel to each artist’s respective countries
    • All entrants are eligible for this prize
    • The date of residency is March to May 2020
  • Gerard Sekato Award: The Alliance Française, the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud and the French Embassy are sponsoring the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising South African entrant in the Absa L’Atelier aged 25 to 35.
    • This prize consists of a return flight ticket to Paris, a three-months stay in the Cité Internationale des Arts, nationwide touring of exhibitions in France, Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud French language lessons. The Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris residencies are made available by SANAVA. The period of Gerard Sekoto Award residency is from April to June 2020.


  • Open to all artists who are not younger than 21 and not older than 40 on May 31, 2019. In the case of art students, only students in their final year of study, who meet the age requirements, may participate;
  • All prize winners are required to take up the prize (residency) as per the date mentioned in the entry details;
  • Only artists who are citizens or have been granted permanent residency of South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Mozambique, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Nigeria or Namibia and are currently residing in one of these countries, may enter the competition. The airfare to the Absa Gallery and the residency in France or South Africa forms part of the prize and is only from the participating countries.


Click here to apply

For more information, visit Absa L’Atelier Art Competition.