Your chance to apply to this leading Pan-African art competition starts now!

Each year, from April until May, the call for applications is open and candidates can apply for the chance to win one of the many lined-up art Prizes, as well as the subsequent residency program which starts the following year. The Absa L’Atelier annually welcomes applicants from the 12 countries across the African continent where Absa has a presence. Next to mid-career and established visual artists, the competition is open to any young artist 21 years or older, as well as, art students in their final year of study, who meet the necessary age requirements.

Below is your guide which shows step by step instructions for a successful entry:

Only artists who are citizens or have been granted permanent residency of South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Mozambique, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Nigeria or Namibia and are currently residing in one of these countries, may enter the competition. The airfare to the Absa Gallery and the residency in France or South Africa forms part of the prize, and is only from the participating countries. The 12 countries are randomly divided into three groups of four countries each. The winner of each group will be referred to as an Absa L’Atelier Ambassador.

Click the video above and learn how to enter the competition from Key members, Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa’s Senior Specialist Art Curator; Dr Avitha Sooful, National President of the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA); and Gordon Froud, National Vice President of SANAVA. 


  • Artists are permitted one single entry.
  • The entry submission needs to be a portfolio of artworks that comprises a minimum of four, and a maximum of five different artworks to make up the portfolio entry.
  • Adjudication is done on the entry, which consists of the portfolio of artworks.
  • All entries must be submitted via the online portal.
  • The Absa L’Atelier competition portal will open for uploading entries on 1 April 2022.
  • Entries close on 31 May 2022 at 16:00 (CAT).
  • No late submissions will be accepted.
  • Adjudication is done via the online portal.
  • A total of 10 (ten) images, showcasing the artist’s entry, may be uploaded.
  • When registering online and uploading artwork, it is essential that all fields are completed. Failure to complete all fields will result in an entry being disqualified.
  • Any artist aged 21 to 40 years may enter the competition.
  • All previous entrants will be required to reregister on the portal.

The prizes

There are four prizes for the competition:

The main prize for the winner of each group, and the Gerard Sekoto Award for a South African entrant that continues to demonstrate growth in their art production.

Competition terms and conditions

The Absa L’Atelier has through its prizes, and more so recently, focused on how best to support the artist in growing their brand, in teaching these artists the relevant skills that would assist them in building their careers, giving them the opportunities and necessary skills to build their network and collaborate in their art practice, while providing them with an unique platform that would best position them within the visual arts. It is not just about giving the artist’s a large amount of money, but instead, affording them with the relevant skillset to develop and thrive as artists in a forever changing world.

Main prize

The winner from each of the three groups will receive the following:

  • The ambassadors to take up their prize concurrently.
  • Each ambassador to be provided with a new laptop which would be loaded with the latest Windows and MS Office Package.
  • Each ambassador will be provided with sufficient data to connect to the internet enabling them to attend all online sessions.
  • The first part of the prize would be divided into two parts.
  • For the first part of their prize, the ambassadors will enjoy ten intensive masterclasses, with each masterclass allocated 90 minutes in duration. Virtual platforms allow for the masterclasses to be held with leading experts from across the globe. The participation by the ambassadors in the masterclasses is compulsory. The masterclasses will cover the following topics:
    • MC1: Building up an art portfolio
    • MC2: Media training
    • MC3: Audience development and public relations
    • MC4: Fundraising and proposal writing
    • MC5: Dealing with Galleries, which would include how to engage with galleries, pricing of artwork, contracts, issues around consignments and developing sale agreements
    • MC6: Budgeting and managing your finances
    • MC7: Importance of contracts, wills and trusts (including intellectual property)
    • MC8: Developing exhibitions within the virtual space
    • MC9: Developing, identifying, maintaining and making the most of opportunities in developing your career as an artist.
    • MC10: How to maintain and grow relationships with peers, gallerists, curators, donors, buyers and industry leaders.
  • For the second part of the prize, the ambassadors are paired with a local leading authority from their respective country within the visual arts who will mentor them over a three-month period. Participation by the ambassadors in the mentoring programme is compulsory. During these sessions the ambassador will work with their mentor towards their group exhibition that will take place in the Absa Gallery at the end of the year and, thereafter, travel to each of the ambassador’s respective countries the following year. All materials required for the putting together of this exhibition will be covered, within reason, by Absa.
  • Each ambassador will have an option of taking up a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery within a five- year period of winning the prize.
  • The masterclass, mentoring and collaborative exhibition to take place in 2023.

The Gerard Sekoto Award

The Alliance Française, the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud and the French Embassy in South Africa are sponsoring the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising South African artist who demonstrates continual growth in their work.

This prize consists of a return flight ticket to Paris, three months’ residence in the Cité Internationale des Arts, nationwide touring of exhibitions in France and French language tutoring. The Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris residencies are made available by SANAVA.

Winners are obliged to take up the residency during the period it is offered and may not defer such prize to an alternate date.

If a winner elects not to accept the prize and/or any part thereof and/or is unable to accept same for any reason whatsoever, such prize will be offered to one of the other participants at Absa and its partner’s discretion, with the result that the refusing winner will not receive the prize and/or any part thereof.

The prize and/or any part thereof may not be exchanged for cash, kind and/or otherwise and/or in lieu thereof.

Candidates accept all terms and conditions of entry and by entering the artist acknowledges having read, understood and thus accepted such terms and conditions of submission of their entry to the competition.

The date of residency is April to June 2023.

For more information and contact details: www.latelier.absa.africa.com

You can also follow this story on our Social media channel

Between 10 and 5