Smithsonian’s African Art Award

3rd African Art Award to Edson Chagas and Wangechi Mutu

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art celebrates with the African Art Award Dinner the laureates Edson Chagas, Wangechi Mutu and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their perspective changing work.

(left) Edson Chagas (right) Wangechi Mutu. Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

(left) Edson Chagas (right) Wangechi Mutu. Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art honours with the African Art Award this year Edson Chagas, Wangechi Mutu and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation beacuse of being dynamic forces in the arts sector representing future opportunities, excellence in futurism and significant investment in the future of the museum field.

The 2018 Awardees:

  • Angolan artist Chagas is known for his photography that addresses issues of cities and consumerism. He is the first African artist to receive the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion award, which led to his meteoric rise on the international art scene.
  • Kenyan-born artist Mutu is world-renowned for her Afro-futuristic work across multiple media, including collage, sculpture and painting. Several of her works are included in the collection of the museum, including the recent acquisition “Tree Woman.”
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a leading national foundation supporting arts and culture through its transformative grant making, which is addressing national and international issues of diversity, inclusion and equality in the museum field.

To celebrate, the museum hold its third annual African Art Awards Dinner on Friday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. This black-tie fundraising dinner will take place in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Tickets are available on the museum’s website or by phone at (202) 633-3773.

The African Art Awards Dinner is the premier annual fundraising event to support the museum’s mission. The theme of this year’s dinner is the ‘future’ as it is the first presentation of the awards under Museum Director Gus Casely-Hayford.

Award-winning celebrity Executive Chef Kwame Onwuachi of Washington, D.C.’s Kith and Kin restaurant will design a distinctive menu for the evening’s dinner. During the evening, Casely-Hayford will be in discussion with guest speaker Touria El Glaoui founding director of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.  The goal of the African Art Awards Dinner, hosted by Fox 5 News Morning news anchor Maureen Umeh, is to raise funds in support of the museum’s mission.

Onwuachi celebrates his heritage ranging from Nigeria and Jamaica, to West Africa and the Caribbean, to New Orleans and New York, and now immersed in The Wharf of Washington D.C., Onwuachi finds his culinary impetus in everywhere he is from, everywhere he has been and the influence of those who know him best.

El Glaoui is the founding director of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which takes place in London and New York every year, and in 2018 launches in Marrakech. The fair highlights work from artists and galleries across Africa and the diaspora, bringing visibility in global art markets to vital upcoming visions. El Glaoui began her career in the banking industry before founding 1-54 in 2013. Parallel to her career, she has organized and co-curated exhibitions of the work of her father, the Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui, in London and Morocco.

About the National Museum of African Art

The National Museum of African Art is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of Africa’s arts across time period, geography and medium. Founded as a small museum on Capitol Hill in 1964, it became part of the Smithsonian in 1979 and in 1987 moved to its current location on the National Mall. The museum has 35 staff members and its fiscal year 2017 budget is $7 million. The museum’s collection of 12,000 artworks represents the diversity of the African continent and includes a variety of media—from jewelry to painting, photography, pottery, sculpture, textile and video and sound art—dating from ancient to present times. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. For more information about this program, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website at For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.



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