Henrike Grohs Art Award

Jackie Karuti Receives the 2020 Henrike Grohs Art Award

The Nairobi based new media artist Jackie Karuti is the second recipient of the Henrike Grohs Art Award, conceived by the Goethe-Institut and Grohs family.

Jackie Karuti. Photo by Tõnis Saadoja

Jackie Karuti. Photo by Tõnis Saadoja

Jury members Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), Paula Nascimento (Angola) and Sarah Rifky (Egypt) decided for new media artist Jackie Karuti as the 2020 Henrike Grohs Art Award recipient. The Nairobi based artists will be awarded with a 20 000€ cash prize and 10 000€ towards a publication of her work.

Jackie Karuti is largely experimental and employs the use of new media through drawings, video, installations and performance art. Her work is founded on ideas around knowledge production & accessibility as well as the depths of possibility enabled by radical imagination.


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“We are delighted to present Jackie Karuti (b. 1987, Nairobi) with the Henrike Grohs Art Award. Karuti’s work has a unique poetic dimension and her interests include pertinent investigations into technologies and ways of seeing. Karuti, who lives and works in Nairobi, explores themes of death, sexuality, identity, knowledge and urban culture in her projects while exploring different narrative strategies and mediums, including video, drawing and interactive performance. This award is intended to allow her to continue her experimentation and to push her into even more complex enquiries”, said the jury.

Florian Grohs, representative of the Grohs family, added: “The three winning artists underline the importance of art to nurture a multi-cultural society in Africa. Especially now, we are happy that the Award supports upcoming African artists when the Corona pandemic makes it even more difficult for artists to perform and to gain a living.”

Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, emphasized: “We see an art scene on the African continent that is dynamic, diverse and resilient. This is what the Henrike Grohs Award stands for, which is very close to my heart. With Jackie Karuti, the jury found a more than worthy award winner.  »

Karuti’s work can be seen here: thirdroomstudios.com

Akwasi Bediako Afrane (Ghana) and Sabelo Mlangeni (South Africa) were selected as runners-up of the Henrike Grohs Art Award and will each receive a cash prize of 5 000€.

Watch video profiles of the top 3 artists here: Goethe.de/HGAA2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the 2020 Henrike Grohs Art Award ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, as scheduled for 30 May 2020 was cancelled. The remaining funds that were to be used to host the ceremony in Dakar were redistributed to the top 17 shortlisted artists. Biographies of the shortlisted artists can be found here.




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