Inaugural prize launch, finalists’ exhibition and art weekend in Harare, July 26 – 29, 2019.

A new prize for emerging African painters will be the first of its kind, dedicated to supporting emerging contemporary painting and painters across the continent.

The “Invitational” prize and exhibition of finalists is being launched by the Emerging African Art Galleries Association (EAAGA) and hosted by First Floor Gallery Harare and Ngoma NeHosho in the capital of Zimbabwe, Harare.

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. EPI intends to help motivate, support and develop young visual artists in the context of these constraints.


 “I consider artists, particularly painters on the continent, as cultural workers, because they are gifted with an inherent capacity to translate everyday realities to visual languages of transformation,” Says Myron Beasley, one of the Jurors in EPI.

EAAGA, made up of 13 galleries based in Africa, whose members, along with invited guests, comprise the nominating committee for the selection of 17 finalist from close to 100 nominations. “This year’s finalists are an amazing group of committed and passionate artists, who show remarkable breadth of practice and ambition to succeed among emerging artists on the continent,” adds Julie Taylor, director of Guns & Rain, EAAGA member and one of the Nominators.

EPI winners will be announced during the launch weekend in Harare 26-28 of July 2019 with prizes including cash, residencies and exhibitions.

“Painting is still the biggest selling category in the art market, occupying almost 70% of all recorded sales in the art market. So to supporting emerging painters is not just enormously significant culturally, it is ensuring economic sustainability of local art sectors. EPI was developed with a holistic vision for art on the continent” says Valerie Kabov, Chair of EAAGA.

The Jurors for EPI 2019 are three practising artists and educators Myron Beasley (USA), Tapfuma Gutsa (Zimbabwe) and Maja Maljevic (South Africa). “The EPI is an excellent forward thinking initiative. The future of art, and especially painting, from the continent deserve to take their rightful place on the international stage” adds Maja Maljevic.

“Harare’s sociopolitical isolation has resulted in pent up artistic energy therefore the call to other African nations’ participation is a welcome comparative platform for emerging artists,” adds Tapfuma Gutsa.

The 17 finalists from 9 African countries will exhibit their work at the inaugural Invitational exhibition, produced in collaboration with EAAGA, at First Floor Gallery Harare 26- 28 July, 2019.  Three of the finalists will be awarded cash prizes, with the top prize winner also receiving a solo booth at the newly launched Latitude art fair in Johannesburg, 12 -15 September, 2019.

“Being part of EPI has been a great vote of confidence in my career as a young artist, working from the context of South Africa. Seeing all of the other amazing finalists work put forward for the prize is testament of the fact that contemporary painting in Africa is alive and well.” Rory Emmett, finalist.

The exhibition opening and prize launch will be supported by an international collector weekend, with a symposium, artist studio visits and art space and gallery visits across Harare.

“We are delighted to be launching the prize in Harare and to share the city and its vibrant contemporary art scene as an art destination. We are also excited to see EPI develop as an event which will in future editions showcase other African cities and their art scenes. Our work has always been about finding synergies in collaboration and EPI is built with that vision,” adds Marcus Gora the Executive Director and co-founder of First Floor Gallery Harare. “We are grateful for the support of our colleagues, participating artists, local art spaces and sponsors in this wonderful project”.

To be eligible for the prize, artists must be within first 10 years of practice post-art school, be permanently resident on the continent, and have painting is their primary discipline.

List of Finalists:

Surafel Amare (Ethiopia)

Arim Andrew (Uganda)

Mohamed Saïd Chair (Morocco)

Rory Emmett (South Africa)

Sarah Grace (South Africa)

Nelly Guambe (Mozambique)

Nelsa Guambe (Mozambique)

Kimathi Mafafo (South Africa)

Catheris Mandombo (DRC)

Epheas Maposa (Zimbabwe)

Pebofatso Mokoena (South Africa)

Amanda Mushate (Zimbabwe)

Nhlanhla Dumakude Nhlapo (South Africa)

Kaloki Nyamai (Kenya)

Adonias Ocom (Uganda)

Jonathan Okoronkwo (Ghana)

Leayne Tilahun (Ethiopia)




Strauss & Co, Africa First, Art Africa Magazine, Ngoma NeHosho, Emerging Africa Art Galleries Association, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg/Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), The African Arts Trust, Prince Claus Ticket Fund, First Floor Gallery Harare, Oldenburg Wines, Latitude art fair, Rwandair, Latilla Consulting, Sandalwood Lodge Harare