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Wura-Natasha Ogunji speaks on the Access Bank ART X Prize 2021

Returning for its 5th edition, the Access Bank ART X Prize provides funding and tailored mentoring support to emerging Nigerian visual artists, enabling them to further their careers and challenge the expectations of local and global audiences. This year, the Prize will award its winner a N1.8m grant towards a solo presentation at ART X Lagos, a three-month residency at Gasworks, London and mentorship and support.

In an interactive session with the 2021 Prize curator Wura-Natasha Ogunji, the revamped application process was discussed providing vital information for artists applying this year.

The renowned artist and performer is a recipient of the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship whose practice is inspired by daily interactions in the city of Lagos and explores the presence of women in public space; investigating their labour, leisure, freedom and frivolity.

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‘I think what’s most exciting about the Prize is that it has many components. You have the exhibition at ART X Lagos, which is supported by the grant. The grant will produce your exhibition, buy you materials and afford you an opportunity to participate in your dream exhibition. You also have mentorship, with artists and curators assisting you in putting together your exhibition. The residency is very exciting! You can work in a new studio space, meet with creative people, and make great contacts.’ she said.

Ogunji was joined by the 2019 winner, Etinosa Yvonne, who spoke about her ongoing residency at Gasworks in London. “It’s been good going around and looking at artworks that I usually would not be able to see in person. I like the conversations I’m having [with other residents], and the opportunities to meet with people, to network, and to be inspired by everything around me. One of the things that I’ll take away from here is that nothing is impossible. Those ideas you have in your head that seem crazy, you can make it work.” Yvonne said

“Project proposals are not an application requirement for this year’s edition and artists who are formally trained and/or self-taught are welcome to apply. However, the Prize is only open to individuals and not collectives or groups. If a prospective applicant’s portfolio contains less than ten artworks, we encourage them to spend more time building their portfolio and apply in the future.” Ogunji added.

“Artists may receive help when proofreading their applications, however, it’s important that they work on their applications themselves. You may pause your application while on the website but you can’t save and return to your application at a later time. Submitted applications cannot be corrected so ensure that your applications are error-free before submitting.”

“The Access Bank ART X Prize is open to a wide variety of art mediums including but not limited to paintings, photographs, sound art, and sculptures. Be sure you read the Terms and Conditions of the Prize before submitting your application! That cannot be overemphasized.” opined Ogunji.

In the coming weeks, the top 5 finalists for this year’s edition of the Prize will participate in the Finalist’s Forum, a two-day intensive designed to support and strengthen their portfolios before their final meeting with the jurors. Facilitators include writer and producer Maryam Kazeem, visual artist Kelani Abass and creative director and artist Jumoke Sanwo.

Emerging Nigerian artists who have been working and practicing as artists for 3 years and more are welcome to apply. There is no application fee and students are not eligible for the Prize. To apply visit ARTXLAGOS.COM/PRIZE. The deadline for applications is Sunday, 1st August 2021, at midnight.

The Access Bank ART X Prize is sponsored by Access Bank in partnership with Gasworks.

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