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Local visual artists in EPI finals

George Masarira

Two local visual artists, George Masarira and Tashinga Majiri, have been short-listed for the second annual Emerging Painting Invitational (EPI), a pan-African prize for emerging painters.

The duo competes with 15 other entrants from eight African countries including Kenya, Tunisia, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Rwanda at the second edition of the event which runs from October 12 to 19.

Organised by Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA), the event will take a virtual format this year due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

It will have an online exhibition project supported by talks, studio visits and interactions in collaboration with Strauss & Co.

EAAGA chair Valerie Kabov said emerging African artists face a challenge in engaging international markets.

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“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,” she said.

Kabov, who also doubles as First Floor Gallery Harare director, said supporting emerging artists was of cultural significance.

“EPI intends to help motivate, support and develop the practices and careers of young African visual artists,” she said.

“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.”

Other participants of this year’s EPI include Agnes Waruguru N`joroge (Kenya), Dorra Mahjoubi (Tunisia), Eyasu Telayneh (Ethiopia), Kylie Wentzel (South Africa), Sejiro Avoseh (Nigeria), Willy Karekezi (Rwanda), and Thebe Phetogo (Botswana).

Winners will be announced on October 19, after adjudication by a three member jury namely: 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, and Florine Demosthene, a painter who is based between Accra, Haiti and New York.

The inaugural EPI was held last year in Harare which saw Mozambique’s Nelly Guambe scooping the first prize, Zimbabwe’s Epheas Maposa taking second position and Surafel Amare, from Ethiopia on third place.

Maposa said winning second position was a highlight of his career.

“The experience was informative in the sense of mixing with different cultures and ideologies behind the work production processes,” he said.

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“Winning the second prize was most important for the opportunity which came with it, to improve my production and production space.”

Last year, more than 60 international visitors from all over the world and emerging artists from across Africa converge in the city for an exhibition and a series of workshops, talks and studio visits spotlighting Harare as a contemporary art destination and tourism destination.

HERALD