The competition

There are 12 countries that qualify to take part in the Absa L’Atelier art competition. The 12 countries are randomly divided into three groups of four countries each. Artists within each group compete against each other. There is no competition between the three groups – artists compete within each group only.

The artist is required to submit one entry which consists of a portfolio of a minimum of four and a maximum of five artworks. Submission of less than four and more than five artworks will result in the artist’s immediate disqualification. Each group of four countries will have a different set of adjudicators.

A single winner will be selected from each of the three groups of four countries (i.e. one winner from Group A, one winner from Group B, one winner from Group C). Absa will then bring the entered artwork from each of the Group winners to the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg. The above-mentioned winning artworks will make up the final exhibition, along with the Gerard Sekoto winner. The winner of each Group will be referred to as an Absa L’Atelier Ambassador.

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

Main prize

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

  • A one-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, followed by a three-month residency in South Africa.

  • While taking up their three-month residency in South Africa, the artists will enjoy a weekly art masterclass.

  • 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’s discretion, with the result that the refusing winner will not receive the prize and/or any part thereof.

  • A monthly stipend during their four-month residency.

  • All flights, travel-associated costs and accommodation.

  • All three Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors will take up their residency at the same time.

  • While in Paris, artists will have the opportunity to network with their peers and local galleries, while being granted free access to a number of museums and galleries.

  • While taking up their South African residency, artists will work together towards a group exhibition, consisting of both individual and collaborative artworks.

  • The winning artists’ exhibition will open in the Absa Gallery within a year after taking up their residency and the exhibition will then travel to each artist’s respective country.

  • All entrants are eligible for this prize.

  • The date of residency is March to June 2022.

  • 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 into the competition.

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’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 2022.

Entries

Artists are permitted one single entry.  This entry submission needs to be a portfolio of artworks that comprise of a minimum of four, and a maximum of five different artworks to make up their portfolio entry. Adjudication is done on the entry which consists of the portfolio of artworks. All entries must be submitted through the online portal. The Absa L’Atelier competition portal is open for uploading of entries on 1 April 2021. All entries close on 31 May 2021 at 16:00 (CAT). No late submissions will be accepted. Adjudication is done through the online portal. A total of ten (10) images may be uploaded showcasing the artist’s entry. It is essential when registering online and uploading your artwork that all fields are completed. Failure to complete all fields will result in your entry been disqualified. Any artist aged 21 to 40 years of age may enter the competition. All previous entrants will be required to re-register on the portal.

Watch Video

Country Groups

For the 2019 competition, the countries competing against one another in Group, A, B and C were as follows: