Pan-African Absa L’Atelier Initiative Announces Winners

After receiving a record number of registrations, the jury awarded Chelsea Selvan, Gandor Collins, Taofeek Badru and Malebogo Naticia Molokoane.

(Clockwise): Taofeek Badru (Nigeria), Malebogo Naticia Molokoane (South Africa), Chelsea Selvan (South Africa) and Gandor Collins (Ghana). All images courtesy of Absa.

(Clockwise): Taofeek Badru (Nigeria), Malebogo Naticia Molokoane (South Africa), Chelsea Selvan (South Africa) and Gandor Collins (Ghana). All images courtesy of Absa.

The Absa L’Atelier, which has been running for 36 years, is hosted annually by Absa in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA). This year the winners of the four categories are: Chelsea Selvan (South Africa), Gandor Collins (Ghana), Taofeek Badru (Nigeria) and Malebogo Naticia Molokoane (South Africa).

Every year, dynamic, inspiring and young visual artists from across Africa are given the opportunity to develop their talents abroad through the Absa L’Atelier. Additionally, the competition offers them a platform to explore themes and contemporary issues that will bring their possibilities to life.
Artists, aged 21 to 40, who are citizens, permanent residents and residing in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, are eligible to enter for the competition. These are the winners of the four categories:

Taofeek Badru from Nigeria in Group A (Nigeria, Zambia, Botswana, Uganda).
Gandor Collins from Ghana in Group B (Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana)
Chelsea Selvan from South Africa in Group C (South Africa, Seychelles, Mozambique, Mauritius).

Malebogo Naticia Molokoane from South Africa wins in the fourth category, the Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto award.

Molokoane received a three months residence in the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, from April to June 2023, and a travelling exhibition throughout South Africa that will first open in the Absa Gallery in 2024.

Malebogo Naticia Molokoane’s work draws inspiration from the concept of concealed faces, exploring the personal emotions hidden behind facial expressions.

Taofeek Badru is a multimedia artist whose oeuvre ranges from work done in Textiles using acrylic threads to create hand embroidery , sculpture, and installation. Badru earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts both in Textile from Obafemi Awolowo University, ile ife, Osun State, Nigeria. A signature element of his works is his use of imagery and symbols from African wall murals and fabrics, most especially Adire Eleko fabrics, in creating works that have gone on to adorns private homes and institutions both in Nigeria and abroad. Badru has participated in several successful joint exhibitions, art fairs and a solo exhibitions. He s a recipient of many awards and was part of LIMCAF 2017 top 4 artists sponsored to 13th Dark art Biennial in Senegal by professor El Anatsui. Badru has been able to assert himself in the Nigeria’s creative space through the development of his unique style and constant experiments by creating linear abstracts and figurative works to evoke his ideas and feelings to the viewers.

Gandor Collins was born in Sogakofe, a town in the Volta region, Ghana. He was raised in Ivory Coast and came back to Ghana when he was 18 years old. His Works explores the possibilities of painting having sculptural characteristics/features of ancient art of Africa, primarily grounded as experimental work. He uses the human body, mostly heads,as subject matter for his paintings. His artworks Displays lighter subjects depicted against darker or flat backgrounds, painted monochromatically.

Chelsea Selvan (b. 1997) is a mixed-media artist who graduated in 2019 with a BA Fine Arts (Honours) with distinction, at the University of the Witwatersrand. Having previously worked at the Centre for the Less Good Idea, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Wits Art Museum, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Selvan has a strong grounding in the art industry. These experiences have inculcated a keen interest in the way that various genres and mediums of art and performance can intersect in gallery and museum spaces. Her own artistic practice embodies the sentiment of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s words, “I am a part of all that I have met”, and echoes throughout her explorative creative process. Working with mixed media, collage, printmaking, immersive installations, poetry and photography, Selvan playfully creates an intricate and abstract collage of spaces, objects and moments that one engages with on a daily basis. Her process of creation is often triggered through the recollection of memories, home and the way she is touched by the world.




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