ART X Collective has announced the finalists of the 2021 Access Bank ART X Prize. After a rigorous evaluation process, the jury selected Chigozie Obi, Chukwudi Onwumere, Mobolaji Ogunrosoye, Nyancho NwaNri, and Omoregie Osakpolor.
The ART X Prize was created to bolster the careers of emerging Nigerian artists who have demonstrated a commitment to working as professional visual artists. In the absence of infrastructure that exists in other international centres for contemporary art, the ART X Prize was launched in partnership with Access Bank to contribute to the burgeoning contemporary art sector in Nigeria.
The 2021 winner will claim a grant of N1,800,000 towards an ambitious project, a three-month residency at Gasworks, London in 2021, and a solo presentation at ART X Lagos.
The finalists will participate in the Finalists Forum, a two-day intensive designed to support their creative practice, and as well as to prepare them for their final presentations to the jury. The workshops will be facilitated by a dynamic group of Nigerian creatives including writer Maryam Kazeem, artist Kelani Abass, curator and artist Jumoke Sanwo, and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, this year’s Access Bank ART X Prize curator. The winner of the Access Bank ART X Prize 2021 will be announced shortly thereafter.
About the Finalists:
Chigozie Obi is a multi-dimensional visual artist whose experimental artworks are created through the layering of multiple materials. Her work uses vibrant colours and figures to portray emotions and stories and focuses on the representation of Black people in their diversity. Obi’s works have been featured in several group exhibitions and auctions including ‘Real Life Is Fragile’; Thinkspace Projects, Los Angeles; MoCada Museum’s silent auction (2019) and Collective Renditions, African Artists Foundation, Lagos (2019). She is one of the recipients of the inaugural Tilga Fund for Arts Grant (2020), and the Art.ng Grant for Visual Artists (2020). She was also a nominee of The Future Awards Prize For Art (2020), a shortlisted artist for The Alpine Fellowship Art Prize (2020), and a former resident of Bethany Arts Community, New York (2020).
Chukwudi Onwumere is a photographer whose interest in the medium grew while documenting the beautiful city of Lagos. From initially capturing the busy and colourful streets of Lagos, Onwumere has continued to refine his practice evolving from landscape to fine art and documentary photography. Onwumere was among the photographers commissioned by Q dance in the first edition of Dance Gathering (2017). He was a finalist in the United States Embassy Photo Competition, Nigeria (2018), a finalist in Lagos Photo Festival (2019), a finalist at Capprize Photography Awards (2020), and a nominee for World Press Photo 6×6 Global Talent (2020). He is a member of the Nlele Institute mentee program.
Mobolaji Ogunrosoye is a self-taught conceptual artist whose practice is centred around the exploration of selfhood, body image, and the impact of societal influences on personal identity. Using photography and collaging techniques, Ogunrosoye documents physicality and emotion by studying archival material containing images and text describing daily life, neighbourhood activity, and general landscapes; reimagining them to introduce the viewer and herself to alternate versions of reality. Ogunrosoye held her first solo exhibition; Loose Woman, curated by A White Space Creative Agency, in 2018. She participated in the inaugural virtual residency at Window, Winnipeg, where she explored the interpretation of digital and analogue collage as one harmonized medium. She is amongst 40 female artists currently exhibited at The Invincible Hands exhibition at The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art.
Nyancho NwaNri is a lens-based artist and documentary photographer whose work revolves around identity, the human psyche, indigenous African spiritual traditions and knowledge systems, as well as social and environmental issues. A self-taught artist, filmmaker and photographer, NwaNri started her career at Disney’s ESPN and has worked in the Film and TV industry in the United Kingdom and across West Africa. Her works have been showcased at various exhibitions and festivals including Eyes On Main Street Festival, North Carolina, USA, (2021); The Oceans and Its Interpreters, Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, (2020); ART X Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, (2019); VideoEx Festival, Zurich, Switzerland, (2018); Chale Wote Festival, Accra, Ghana, (2017); and Ndiva Women’s Film Festival, Accra, Ghana, (2017).
Omoregie Osakpolor is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses primarily on social justice and culture. Through his art, Osakpolor expresses his thoughts and tells human stories with the hope to critically engage his society. Omoregie’s works have been featured on various platforms including CNN Africa, BBC, Quartz and leading Nigerian newspapers. His works have been exhibited in group exhibitions including the 12th Bamako Encounters (2019); Thought Pyramid Art Centre (2019) and others in Lagos, Abuja, and Benin City. His short film “Grey” won the Fashola Photography Foundation Prize. He was nominated for the Edwin George Prize for Photography at The Future Africa Awards (2017), and for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass (2020).
Previous winners of the Prize are Etinosa Yvonne (2019), Bolatito Aderemi-Ibitola (2018), Habeeb Andu (2017), and Patrick Akpojotor (2016).