New lucrative global art prize for emerging artists announced

Emerging artists from the African continent aged 18 years and above are also eligible and stand to win grand prize of £10,000 (R201 411)

By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

With global interest keeping on growing in African contemporary art, times have never been better for African artists right now. This is especially good news for African artists because for too long, the continent used not to be taken seriously as a continent that produced art that got society to engage in conversations about issues affecting them as well as the bigger world at large.

But now with collectors increasingly focussing on contemporary art produced by talent on the continent, the situation is changing, and this change is good for contemporary art on the continent.

It is against this context that a new major art prize open to emerging artists globally, including those from the African continent, has been announced and is bound to attract major interest from contemporary artists from throughout the world. This is especially so because the grand prize is huge and the opportunities that will come out of winning this global prize is bound to change the life and times of the artists that will win this art prize.

Behind this new art prize are global creative company, M&C Saatchi Group and London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery who  have launched this  new international art initiative – the annualArt for Change Prize.

 “M&C Saatchi Group’s partnership with the renowned contemporary art gallery aims to deepen access to contemporary art, broaden learning opportunities for young people in the UK and worldwide and identify the next generation of artists influencing real societal change. Together they believe in the power of creativity to change the world,” the organisers said in a statement following this announcement yesterday, August 2, 2022.

Moray MacLennan, M&C Saatchi CEO, comments: “Our partnership with the Saatchi Gallery is about providing meaningful support for emerging artists, globally. It is also about having a positive impact on society, because that’s what art can do, create Meaningful Change.”

 In South Africa, the walls of the M&C Saatchi Abel offices in both Johannesburg and Cape Town are adorned with fresh, brave and beautiful pieces by established and upcoming artists from the African continent. 

 “Art and advertising share unique similarities because they both start with a clear, original and intelligent idea that turns into something that prompts introspect, thought, and that can be celebrated as a business that operates in the creative space. The M&C Saatchi Group South Africa is proud of the meaningful role that art plays in its DNA, and the continued opportunities it is able to give in supporting young artists. 

 With a Contemporary Art Collection that houses more than 120 pieces of work the group is constantly on the lookout for up-and-coming artists to showcase in its own curated gallery of sorts.”

 As part of the initiative, M&C Saatchi Group South Africa has established a judging panel to judge entries submitted from across the African continent. The judges are: 

  • Neo Mashigo, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi Abel South Africa
  • Mary Corrigall, Art Advisor, Commentator, Independent Researcher & Founder of Corrigall & Co
  • Robert Grace, Founding Partner & Head of Strategy at M&C Saatchi Abel South Africa, Board Member for the National Arts Festivals

“There is an astounding amount of art being produced on the African continent, and initiatives such as the Art for Change prize assist in identifying, rewarding and further nurturing emerging talent,” says Corrigall. “I’m excited to be part of this global initiative, which will highlight the breadth and variety of contemporary art from Africa.” 

 Paul Foster, Director Saatchi Gallery, adds: “Art has the ability to help us understand ourselves; explore the issues we face as individuals and as a species; and to contribute fresh ideas for the future. We need those ideas more than ever. We need visionary artists and their creativity more than ever. Our aim is to nurture and develop this prize so that new voices from around the world are heard and progress might be realised.”

 As part of this shared mission in making art, culture, and creativity accessible to everyone, this free-to-enter prize is a celebration of emerging artistic talent. It will highlight and stimulate dialogue around visual arts as a medium for positive global and social change and give exposure to emerging artists worldwide. 

 “Africa is brimming with talent. The creative expressions of African people are a complex blend of weird and wonderful, offering perspectives from the everyday mundane to the sublimely obscure,” says Mashigo. “The world is waking up to Africa’s creative prowess. We as creatives can now own a space in this global creative economy where we can be more authentic in expressing our creativity than we have ever been. I’m excited for the global platform that Art for Change will provide to bring our creatives and creativity to the world.” 

 With the concept of Art for Change in mind, this year’s award invites emerging artists from around the world to creatively respond to the theme of ‘Equality’.

 A total prize fund of £20,000 will be split between six regional winners, five to receive £2,000 each and one overall winner to receive £10,000. All artists will exhibit their winning works in a dedicated exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, a recognised authority in contemporary art, where the overall winner will be announced. 

 “Art and creativity lead people to ideas, inspiration and quite often action in their lives, and in the world around them,” says Mike Abel, Founding Partner and Chief Executive of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa. “While many may argue for or against arts ability to change the world, there’s no denying that art is a reflection of a society at any given time, allowing artists to make significant and meaningful impact through their work. I believe this partnership and prize will shine a greater light on the power of art and creativity as a driver of change within our society.”

 Applicants are invited to submit work online (all guidelines can be found on the entry website) and the prize is available to emerging artists based in the following M&C Saatchi key global regions UK, Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa. A winner from each location will be decided by some of the best business and creative minds from M&C Saatchi Group globally and eminent guest judges. Judges include: 

 UK:  Ben Golik, Chief Creative Offer at M&C Saatchi London, Darren Bowles, Partner & Executive Creative Director at Re, Part of M&C Saatchi Group, June Sarpong OBE, Author & Broadcaster. 

 Europe: Vincenzo Gasbarro, Co-Founder & Creative Partner at M&C Saatchi Milan, Klara Eide, Partner & Executive Strategy Director at M&C Saatchi Stockholm, Daniel Sundin, Founder of Litz Art Space Stockholm & Partner & Account Director at M&C Saatchi Stockholm. 

 Americas: Nicholos Rotondi, Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment North America, Lucas Crigler, Creative Director at SS+K, Part of M&C Saatchi Group, Andre Bato, Founder, Director & Creative Director at Andre Bato Corp

 Asia: Ali Shabaz, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi Singapore, Tony Liu, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi aeiou Shanghai

Australia: Emma Robbins, Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Melbourne, Mandie van der Merwe, Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Sydney, Blak Douglas, Artist and 2022 Archibald Prize winner

 One overall winner will then be chosen by a grand jury, still to be announced, led by Saatchi Gallery.  

 To apply artists must be aged 18 or over, within the first five years of what they hope will be a successful artistic career and be working in one or more of the following media: painting, drawing, illustration, photography, collage, 2D mixed-media, video or film. 

 Key Dates:

 Entries opened: Thursday 21 July 2022
Deadline for entries: Thursday 8 September 2022, 11.59pm UK BST
Regional winners announced: Friday 28 October 2022
Overall winner announced: Wednesday 7 December 2022
Exhibition dates: Thursday 8 December 2022 – Friday 6 January 2023

For more information and to enter visit

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