MASK Prize is pleased to present Early 21st Century Young African Artists, a group exhibition of artists from Kenya. Twenty artworks - animations and prints of digital art, photographs, drawings, and paintings by 19 artists - will be on view and sale from 5 December 2018 to 12 January 2019 at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The show is curated by the MASK Prize founder, artist Alla Tkachuk.
Th vibrant and sophisticated artworks were selected for the breadth of approaches, artistic styles and medium. Skilful storytellers and observers, the artists captured the energy of youth, mirrored the life and commented on the human condition in modern Africa. They make their art because ‘Art is where we express our creativity’, they say. ‘Art teaches us freedom and beauty. It helps us to look and understand what we see and to act on what we have learned. Art is a physical expression of our imagination, emotions and ideas. Art is the symbol of what is possible. We imagine things and make them a reality’.
In Africa, art has been limited or absent in schools. Art galleries and museums are scarce. This creates an unacceptable inequality in art participation and art production for the majority of young Africans. Most of them will never visit an art gallery, study at an art school, or have a career in the arts or creative industries. Moreover, the curtailed access to the arts threatens their creativity skill, a key skill to the successful employability and leadership in the 21st century.
However, with the help of MASK Prize, a unique creativity competition which prvides participation opportunities for all young Africans regardless of ability and income, the creativity of young people stands to flourish and amaze. Showing some of the MASK Prize talents, the ‘Early 21 Century Young African Artists’ hopes to inform, educate and engage the audiences both in Africa and in the West.
Pioneered in 2013 in Kenya by a UK creativity education charity MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya, www.mobileartschoolinkenya.org), MASK Prize reaches thousands of youths from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa. Participants enter their innovative and inventive artworks and ideas in several categories free online. Winners, selected by the panel of international judges, are awarded prizes at the Award Ceremony in Nairobi, and selected works get exhibited at leading cultural institutions in Kenya, UK and USA.
The MASK Prize promotes art as a positive force that develops creativity, brings change and builds a better future. Art has unlimited powers to change minds and behaviour of those who experience it and, therefore, art makes a significant difference to the lives of individuals and society. MASK Prize is an important Social Art project which empowers and enables young Africans through art. In the words of a participant John Mutahi, 20, from Kenya, “MASK Prize makes us more innovative and leads us to inventions that make the world a better place.”
MASK Prize participants say
"Thank you, MASK Prize, for your amazing work and great effort you put in to ensure growth and nurturing of creative talent in Kenya. You are indeed the driver of change in our society." (Simon Kariuki, 24, Nairobi)
"I gained a lot from the competition, and I am a better person for it."
"The initiative helps us a lot."
"Getting a prize motivated me to be even more creative."
"We urge you to continue inspiring us as young artists."
MASK Prize is a "wonderful event", "lovely and amazing.
"It was a great honour to receive a prize."
"I was in awe of the creativity of others."
"Today a dream comes true!"
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