MASK Prize is a unique creativity competition for young people living in Africa. Pioneered in Kenya in 2013 by a UK education charity MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya), it has now reached Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Mauritius, Nigeria, Cameroon, and South Africa.
MASK Prize participants, aged 4-25, enter their innovative and inventive artworks and ideas free online. Winners selected by the international panel of judges are awarded prizes in several categories and age groups at the Award Ceremony in Nairobi. Selected works are exhibited at leading cultural institutions in Kenya, UK and USA.
Supported by the Africa’s leading media houses such as the Kenyan leading national newspaper The Star and number one Kenyan TV channel Citizen TV, MASK Prize has attracted more than 6,500 entries and organised more than a dozen exhibitions seen by over 650,000 people at the world-leading cultural centers such as Nairobi National Museum, Turner Contemporary, Saatchi Gallery, Library of Congress and other platforms in Kenya, UK and USA.
"It is very encouraging to see the level of interest expressed through a large number of entries by the young from very diverse locations across the region. We believe in your MASK Prize cause, in growing creativity amongst our younger generation, which will encourage innovation and the creation of a better future for them." Carol Wachira-Wanyama of Citizen TV, one of the Media Partners of MASK Prize.
MASK Prize vision
The programme ignites and celebrates young people’s resourcefulness, inventiveness, and the ability to challenge conventions. It encourages them to reflect on creative ways of thinking and doing and asks to rethink the attitudes such as ‘this is how we always do things’ and replace it with ‘how do we change things to achieve improvement or breakthrough?'
Art, and creativity it develops, have unlimited powers to change the minds and behaviour of those who experience it, and therefore art makes a significant difference to the lives of individuals and society. MASK Prize promotes art and creativity as a positive force that brings change and builds a better future. It makes art is more visible at school, local and national levels. More and more teachers and parents attend the MASK Prize Award Ceremonies together with their children saying 'Art and creativity helps our children to achieve success'.
MASK Prize is an important Social Art project which empowers and enables young people through art. In the words of a participant, John Mutahi, 20, from Kenya, “MASK Prize make us more innovative and to leads us to the inventions that make the world a better place.” It has been a triumph. It grows. As one of its principle donors, Alan Rivers of Rivers Foundation, said, “MASK Prize shows the young the joys of creativity.”
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!"
MASK (Mobile Art School in Kenya)
MASK was founded by London-based artist Alla Tkachuk in 2007. While on a painting trip to Kenya, Alla began giving art workshops to children in local schools and discovered that art education was virtually absent. Consulting local teachers and NGOs, she set up MASK and working closely with Kenyan schools and the Ministry of Education developed and implemented art-based programmes that strengthen the creativity of young people and through it improve their learning, employability and leadership. In 2017 the Kenyan Ministry of Education made "creativity" a “core competence” of its new school curriculum.
Creativity - is the ability to generate and implement new nonroutine ideas and solutions. The skill is rooted in the capacity to connect knowledge across disciplines and to form new combinations and patterns. Albert Einstein called creativity ‘a true intelligence’. Innovation - is the process of bringing new ideas to practice. There is no innovation without creativity.
MASK Prize Judges
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