CityLife Arts

Emerging Painting Invitational (EPI) finalists announced

ThisPan-African prize of emerging painting takes place online 12 to 19 October

By Edward Tsumele

The Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) has announced the second annual edition of the Emerging Painting Invitational (EPI), and this competition since its launch is fast consolidating its foothold on the continent’s visual art scene.

Inaugurated last year in Harare Zimbabwe, the prize is the first of its kind, dedicated to supporting emerging contemporary painting and painters across the continent.

Young painters therefore fight it out to make their presence felt on the continent’s visual art landscape by entering this competition for young artists who work in the medium of painting.

This year all eyes in the continent’s art world will be on these finalists come October, to see who among  them will triumph in this medium when the final results are announced in a ceremony which will take the route of the virtual world, due to the current situation of Covid 19.

Howeve,r instead of cancelling the competition altogether, the oragnisers have decided to go ahead using the new technologies  that are available to do business during the times of Covid 19.

This year, EPI features 17 finalists from eight African countries. However due to travel restrictions across Africa, the 2020 edition will be taking place from 12 to 19 October2020 as an online exhibition project. It will be supported by a programme of online talks, virtual studio visits and interactions.

The EPI winners will be announced on October 19, with the first prize sponsored by South Africa’s leading auction house Strauss & Co and additional cash, residency and exhibition prizes awarded with support from the Emerging African Art Galleries Association members.

Works of the finalists will also be presented by Strauss & Co as a special session in their October online auction which opens  on October 12, and closes at 8.00 pm on the October 19, 2020.


“While contemporary African art has been on the rise internationally, developing skills and engaging the international art world is still a challenge for many young painters on the continent” says Valerie Kabov, EAAGA Chair. “EPI intends to help motivate, support and develop the practices and careers of young African visual artists. Supporting emerging painters is not just enormously significant culturally, it is to ensure the economic sustainability of local art sectors. EPI was developed with a holistic vision for art on the continent”.

The competition was this year adjudicated by an all-women artists team comprising Dorothy Amenuke, sculptor and lecturer at the Department of Painting and Sculpture of the Faculty of Fine Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) (Kumasi, Ghana), Amel Bennys, a painter and sculptor, based in Tunis and Paris, Tunisia, and Florine Demosthene, a painter who is based between Accra, Haiti and New York.


 “Not to be trapped in a stereotype that critics, curators, and others in the art world, non-African, even African, expect from us African artists or those of African origin,” comments one of this year’s juror, Bennys.

Amenuke adds that the pan-African nature of EPI is a way of “nurturing what is your ‘own’, which inadvertently implies building ‘the Self’ for the sake of ‘the Whole’”.

“EPI is an excellent forward thinking initiative”, says EPI 2019 juror Maja Maljevic. “The future of art, and especially painting, from the continent deserve to take their rightful place on the international stage”.

To be eligible for EPI, artists must be under 30 years old, living and working on the continent, and have painting as their primary discipline.

The finalists

The following young painters have been selected by the jurors as finalists:


Agnes Waruguru (Kenya)

.Dorra Mahjoubi (Tunisia)

.Elias Mung’ora (Kenya)

.Emna Kahouaji (Tunisia)

.Eyasu Telayneh (Ethiopia)

.George Masarira (Zimbabwe)

.Kirubel Abebe (Ethiopia)

.Kylie Wentzel (South Africa)

.Lincoln Mwangi (Kenya)

.Lwando Dlamini (South Africa)

.Peteros Ndunde ( Kenya)

.Sejiro Avoseh (Nigeria)

.Selome Muleta (Ethiopia)

.Willy Karekezi (Rwanda)

.Tashinga Majiri (Zimbabwe)

.Thebe Phetogo (Botswana)

.Yolanda Mazwana (South Africa)

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