Interest in African contemporary art has been rising internationally, however developing successful painting practices has been a challenge for emerging artists on the continent. Materials are in short supply as is the educational infrastructure and expertise. Despite that, there is a depth of talent and a passion for painting among emerging artists on the continent eager to tell their stories, reach local and international audiences and also to take their place in global story of art.
The Emerging Painting Invitational Prize (EPI) is an annual exhibition, promotion and exchange platform developed by the Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) to spotlight the best young painters across the continent. It seeks to encourage support for art education, production and collection while boosting local creative industries, urban tourism and international engagement. Each year, the EPI prize edition will be hosted by an EAAGA member, giving them an opportunity to promote their city as an art and culture destination. EPI will award cash prizes, residency and exhibition prizes.
The inaugural EPI prize will be launched from 26-28th of July 2019 in Harare, Zimbabwe, hosted by First Floor Gallery Harare in partnership with arts promotion company Ngoma NeHosho. The awards and finalist art exhibition opening, will be followed by a two-day cultural festival with talks, studio visits, networking cocktails, sight-seeing and entertainment for general art audiences, local corporate and individual supporters as well as international guests. EPI will be supported by a full colour printed catalogue, comprehensive press and online presence leading up to the launch and continuing through the life of the exhibition and the prize.
The 2019 EPI finalists represent 9 countries across the continent and were selected by an international committee from more than seventy nominations.