L'Atelier art competition

Entries are invited for the L'Atelier art competition

Register between 20 February and 28 April 2017


There are five prizes for the 2017 competition; the first prize, three merit award prizes and the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist.

The top 10 finalists will all be placed on a two-day art professionalism course to assist them in managing their careers. Each finalist will also be paired with a mentor who will work with them for a year.

First prize

  • The overall winner receives R300 000, as well as a return flight ticket to Paris, France
  • The prize money must be used for a study term of between three and six months in the studio apartment at the Cité Internationale des Arts, purchased specifically for this purpose. The money will be made available when the winner leaves for Paris
  • Upon returning to South Africa(or their home nation), the artist is required to present a solo exhibition at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg, which must take place within a year of his/her return from the residency. The artist may not present a solo exhibition at another gallery during this period
  • The prize must be taken up the year after it is presented
  • All entrants are eligible for this prize.
  • The date of residency is January to June 2018.


1. Merit award prize

The South African residency

Bag Factory Artists’ Studio

  • One merit award winner will win a prize consisting of a three-month residency in Johannesburg, a return flight to Johannesburg and a monthly stipend
  • The prize must be taken up the year after it is presented
  • All entrants are eligible for this prize.
  • The date of residency is January to June 2018



2. Merit award prize

The Sylt Foundation residency

  • One merit award winner will win a two-month residency at the Sylt Foundation on the Island of Sylt, Germany. The residency includes an apartment on the island
  • This prize includes a return flight to Germany and a monthly stipend
  • The prize must be taken up the year after it is presented
  • All entrants are eligible for this prize.
  • The date of residency is June to August 2018 



3. Merit award prize

The Ampersand Foundation residency

  • One merit award winner will win a one-month residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New York City, which includes the use of an apartment
  • The winner of this prize will become a Fellow of the Ampersand Foundation, and will receive an AAM (American Association of Museums) card, which gives the resident free access to most museums in New York City
  • The prize includes a return flight to New York City and a monthly stipend
  • Existing Fellows of the Ampersand Foundation will not qualify for this prize.
  • All entrants are eligible for this prize.
  • The date of residency is January 2018 



Gerard Sekoto award

The Alliance Française, the French Institute and the French Embassy are sponsoring the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising South African artist with an income of less than R60 000 per annum.

This prize consists of a return flight ticket to Paris, three months’ stay in the Cité Internationale des Arts, nationwide touring exhibitions and training in French. The Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris residencies are made available by SANAVA.

Candidates will be expected to take cognisance of the terms and conditions of entry.

The date of residency is May to July 2018


Conditions Of Entry


  • All details of the artist and artwork entry must be submitted online
  • Once the online process is complete, you will receive a reference number for each entry
  • The reference number must be placed on the artwork and must be delivered to the nearest collection point by 16:00 on the 4 March 2016
  • Adjudication takes place on the actual artwork and not the online submission
  • Failure to deliver the artwork to the collection point will result in disqualification.

Online registration

Online registration opens on the Barclays L’Atelier website on 1 January 2016 and closes 4 March 2016 at 16:00.

Terms & Conditions

How our winners are selected

Adjudication Process in the L’Atelier art competition

The L’Atelier competition sets the stage for approximately 100 young artists each year to promote their work by exhibiting at the Absa Gallery, in Johannesburg, South Africa,  and having their work documented in a sought-after catalogue.

The competition is open to everyone aged 21 to 35 years old. All artists, those with formal training as well as self-taught artists, are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the competition. To ensure equal representation, inclusivity and participation, democratic structures are established at each collection point. Four independent adjudicators from each district surrounding the collection point works with the national co-ordinator in selecting the most definitive artworks in the adjudication panel’s opinion from that collection point that then go through to the national adjudication.

The national co-ordinator of the selection panel is appointed by the partners the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA). The regional selection panel of independent adjudicators assisting the national co-ordinator is nominated by each regional collection point, while the national panel of independent adjudicators is identified by the partners in discussion with the national co-ordinator.

The top 100 works of art chosen by the panel are then transported to The Gallery in Johannesburg, where a separate panel of independent adjudicators, with the national co-ordinator, selects the final winning artworks.

Each adjudicator is chosen for their particular field of expertise within the visual arts, including sculpture, painting, digital, installation, printmaking and so forth and each contributed wholly to the assessment and discussion of what is deemed to be quality.

The criteria for the adjudication both at the regional and national levels revolves around matters of technical execution, conceptual and thematic engagement, freshness of artistic vision within the context of African contemporary art and finally – and probably and most difficult element – aesthetic appeal.

With regard to technical execution it is important that the works of art reveal an expert handling of materials and techniques and are presented in such a way that inform the adjudicators that the candidate was mindful of the work having to stand in its own right as an artwork

In respect of conceptual and thematic engagement it is imperative that the artwork reveals an honest and intellectual reasoning or rationale that may lead to the artists’ arrival at the artwork. Simultaneously, the conceptual nature of the work is also about the artwork conveying a message that is accessible to the viewer

A freshness of vision implies that the artwork has to reflect something that is not pastiche or echoes of rhetoric gone before, but rather engages with new and honest ways of seeing

Aesthetic appeal implies that the artist has shown a great consideration for the artworks ‘look’ in terms of visual quality and the conceptual concerns, where the artwork becomes a cohesive object carrying the intended message.


BISI SILVA is an independent curator and director/founded of Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. She was Artistic Director of the 10th Bamako Encounters, African Biennial of Photography (2015) in Mali, Co-Curator of the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art in Greece (2009), and Co-Curator of the 7th Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennial (2006). She is the curator of Asiko (2010-) the pan-African roaming alternative art school.  She co-curated The Progress of Love, a transcontinental collaboration between the Menil Collection (Houston) Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (Missouri) and CCA Lagos (2012–13) and J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Moments of Beauty at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2011). 


A frequent participant in international conferences and symposia, Silva has published in journals and art magazines including Artforum, Third Text, The Exhibitionist, and Art South Africa. Silva sits on the editorial/advisory boards of Art South Africa, N.Paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal, and ContemporaryAnd. She was a member of the international jury for the Pinchuk Art Centre’s Future Generation Art Prize (2014), as well as the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). She was curator for Marker, West Africa at Art Dubai (2013) and has been a member of the jury for the BMW Prize at Art Basel (2014-2016) and the selection committee for  Art Dubai Modern (2014 & 2015)

Bisi Portrait . Photo Kemi Aderinto

Who may enter?

1. The competition is open to all artists who are not younger than 21 and not older than 35 on 20 February 2017. In the case of art students, only students in their final year of study who meet the age requirements may participate.

2. All prize winners are required to take up the prize (residency) as per the date mentioned in the entry details.

3. Only artists who are permanent residents of and residing in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles or Tanzania may enter the competition. The prize airfare to Absa Gallery or to a residency award will only be from participating countries.

4. If information is not captured accurately on the system and any information is missing from the online registration, the entrant will be automatically disqualified.

Which works may be entered?

1. An entrant may enter a maximum of three artworks at only one regional collection point, which are listed herein. The exception is digital artwork. Digital artwork submitted at the artists nearest collection point must include all the necessary equipment to view the work. If the entrant does not wish to supply their own viewing equipment the entry must then  be  posted or couriered directly to the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg (Refer to 4.9 for Postal Address).

2. The works of art must have been completed in the 24 months prior to the closing date of the competition.

3. Only original artworks may be entered.

4. Entries in any medium will be accepted, subject to the following requirements:

4.1 A single artwork that must be hanged, including the frame, must not be larger than 2m x 2m and must not weigh more than 30 kg. It must also pass through a standard-sized single door.

4.2 Sculptures, including the base, may not exceed a mass of 100kg (size as 4.1).

4.3 Works of art that consist of several parts should be accompanied by simple assembly and disassembly instructions (size of the collective piece as 4.1 or 4.2) and the assembly of the artwork should not take more than 1 (one) hour.

4.4 An installation must be no larger than 2m x 2m x 2m and the assembly of the artwork should not take more than 1 (one) hour. If the installation has a digital component, it must not be longer than 5 (five) minutes and must have a definite start and end point.

4.5 Artworks must be of such a nature that they can easily be packed, transported and exhibited. The selection panel and/or organisers have the right to refuse to accept or display artworks that are difficult to hang, install, transport or handle.

4.6 No drilling will be permitted for the hanging of any artwork.

4.7 The selection panel and/or organisers have the right to refuse to accept or display artworks, which they are of the opinion are dangerous or potentially dangerous, or of a nature that may cause injury or damage to persons or goods.

4.8 No artwork will be accepted that incites hate speech and propaganda or violence against race, creed, gender or sexual orientation.

4.9 Entrants submitting digital artwork can send this to the Johannesburg collection point directly. The envelope to be marked: Attention The Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Towers North, 161 Main Street, Johannesburg. Ensure the envelope is clearly labelled L’Atelier Entry.

4.9 Entrants submitting digital video or animations can courier it to Absa Gallery, Upper Ground Floor, Towers North, 161 Main Street, Johannesburg or mail via registered mail to Absa Gallery, PO Box 7735, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa. Please indicate in the package that this is for the L’Atelier and the reference number of the artwork should be attached to the memory stick or disc.

4.10 No artwork compiled by more than one entrant will be accepted.

4.11 Video entries must not exceed 5 (five) minutes in time and must have a definite start and end point. The video should not form a continuous loop. If the artwork is sent as a DVD, must be PAL region. If the artwork is sent on a USB stick, the file extension must be DV AVI or MPEG 2. Any digital work longer than 5 minutes will be disqualified.

4.12 If special display requirements or instructions are involved in digital / video artwork, the artist is required to supply their display mechanisms.

4.13 All artwork entered must be for sale. The selling price must remain the same as the selling price reflected on the online registration form.

4.14 Regional collection points that host an exhibition of entered artworks will place a 40% commission on the selling price of the artwork. Barclays Africa will have first choice to purchase all artworks that form part of the final selection.. All works of art sold at The Absa Gallery will have no commission structure and all proceeds from the sale thereof will go to the artist.

4.15 No performance art will be accepted.

Preparation of the works of art

Entrants shall ensure that the artwork(s) are ready for exhibiting and all artwork(s) to be hanged must be properly framed with hooks and hanging wire already attached. In order to avoid damage to the artwork(s), it is advisable that the entrants use Perspex covering as opposed to glass. The artist is responsible for supplying hanging clips and protective tabs for artwork(s) that is not framed, but needs to be hung. Artworks that are not hang-ready or do not have hanging clips supplied will be disqualified.

The reference number must be clearly attached to the back of the artwork with the artist’s name and title of the artwork. The top of the artwork must be indicated by an arrow. In the case of a diptych or triptych, the artwork’s position in the set must be indicated.

Artworks that are selected into the final adjudication must be available for 9 (nine) months from the closing date of the regional selection. Competition organisers will not be under any obligation to return the artwork within this nine-month period. All efforts will be made to have the artworks returned to the regional collection points as soon as possible after the final exhibition closes.

Dispatch, copyright and sales

All artworks are for sale.

The entrant is responsible, both practically and financially, for packaging, dispatching and insuring of the artworks that are submitted to the regional collection point for preliminary selection. The organisers undertake to dispatch works of art submitted for final selection to and from Johannesburg, provided that, in the event of loss of or damage to any single work of art, the organisers liability, if any, shall be relative the replacement cost of the artwork as indicated by the artist as the selling price and the liability is limited to R 10 000 (ten thousand rand) only.

Barclays Africa reserves the right to reproduce artworks that are entered, without compensation to the entrants, for inclusion in the catalogue or for the advertising of the competition.

Should any artwork(s) be selected for the final exhibition, the entrant shall not be allowed to withdraw any of the artwork(s) selected for any reason whatsoever.

Damage and/or loss

Should any artwork(s) be stolen, disappear or be damaged, the entrant will be entitled to compensation up to the insured amount only, provided that the amount of compensation is limited to a maximum of R10 000 (ten thousand rand) only.

A claim must be made by the entrant concerned within a month of the artwork(s) being returned to the collection point, failing which, such claim will be forfeited by the entrant involved. If an entrant is compensated for damaged artwork(s) as set out above, the entrant’s damaged artwork(s) will not be exhibited or continue to be exhibited and the damaged artwork(s) will not be included in the catalogue.

If an artwork is damaged due to a faulty hanging system, it will not be covered by insurance.


Should any artwork(s) be stolen, disappear or be damaged, the entrant will be entitled to compensation. The risk in respect of damage to and/or loss of the entrant’s artwork(s) shall pass to the organisers once the work is packed at one of the regional collection points for dispatch to the national exhibition. The organisers in no way accept any responsibility or liability for loss of and/or damage to an artwork(s), should the collection point concerned elect to exhibit the artwork(s) at the regional collection point. Entrants assume all responsibility for arrangements with the arts association concerned in respect of any loss of and/or damage to the artwork(s) during such regional exhibitions.

Any claims arising from loss and/or damage at the regional collection point shall be solved mutually between the artist and the regional collection point. Barclays Africa, SANAVA and the organisers shall assume no liability or responsibility for dealing with and payment of any claim.

Preliminary Selection

Preliminary selection will take place at the regional centres from May 2017 and the selection panel for each regional centre will comprise of selectors from the particular region. The selection panels for each region will be constituted under the chairmanship of the Lead Adjudicator on behalf of the National President of SANAVA, who will have the casting vote in the case of a split decision. Work(s) of art that are not selected must be removed no later than 7 (seven) days after been informed by the collection point by the entrant himself/herself or by someone who is authorised to do so on providing written authority from the entrant to do so. Work(s) of art returned to the collection points after the final exhibition must be collected by the artist within 7 (seven) days, failing which, Barclays Africa shall, within its sole discretion, be entitled to sell the artwork on behalf of the artist, or otherwise dispose of it.

The best works of art will be selected and sent to Johannesburg, where they will  undergo a final round of adjudication. The final selected works will then form part of the 2017 L’Atelier exhibition and documented in the 2017 L’Atelier catalogue. The final adjudication will be undertaken by a selection panel.


The adjudicators’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Absa and its partners are entitled to amend the terms and conditions thereof in so far as same is deemed necessary and such amendments may relate to any aspect of such competition, which may include the addition and/or deletion of any existing and/or proposed terms and conditions of the competition, which amendments may also affect the identified prize including but not limited to cash prize of such competition.

The proposed amendments may be effected prior to the starting date of the competition and during the  Competition Period, which amendments may result in the  Competition Period being reduced and/or extended as deemed necessary and it is the participant’s responsibility to regularly check the website where the competition rules are made available for any amendments.

No participant shall have any recourse or claim against Absa or its partners as a result of any amendment to these terms and conditions or as a result of Absa’s cancellation, termination or suspension of the competition and or amendment of the prize.


Dr Paul Bayliss
Tel: 011 350 3003
E-mail: paulbay@absa.co.za

Collection points

South Africa:

Cape Town:

Iziko Social History Centre

Spin St,

Cape Town City Centre,

Cape Town,


Principle Contact: Ernestine White
Tel: 021 467 7234
Email: ewhite@iziko.org.za


The National Art Gallery
331 Independence Avenue, Gaborone
Attention: Mr Reginald Bakwena
Tel: +267 374 616                                                                                                                      

Centre for Visual Arts
Likoni Lane, Off Denis Pritt Road,Nairobi City   
Attention: Linda Barasa
Tel: +254 721 262326/ +254 733 742752
Email: linda@kuonatrust.org
Website: www.kuonatrust.org

Afriart Gallery
Bock 56/57, Kenneth Dale Drive, Off Kira Road,
Kamwokya, Kampala;
Attention: Daudi Karungi

Tel: +256414375455, mobile +256772662575



FLC FOUNDATION [Fernando Leite Couto Foundation]

Mrs Yolanda Couto (Curator of the Art Gallery)

Av. Kim l1 Sung No. 33, Maputo

Tel: +258 843 184 310 / +258 823 084 310

Email: Yolanda.couto@fflc.org.mz

National Arts Council,
Tel: +248 295 200

South Africa:

Absa Gallery, Absa Towers North,
161 Main Street
Attention: Paul Bayliss or Stephan Erasmus
Tel: 011 350 3003 or 011 350 5139

Nubuke Foundation
7 Adamafio close, East Legon, Accra
Attention: Nana Ama Nkansah
Tel: +233 277 44 5596 or +233 242 432105
Email: atelierprize@nubukefoundation.org




Modzi Arts 

Swedish School; Plot No. 5488
Alick Nkhata Road, Longacres, Lusaka


Muchemwa Sinkala 

+ 260 955 783992

Lawrance Chikwa 

+ 260 955 783992


Email address: modziarts@gmail.com


Website: www.modziarts.com


pARTage, 419, Kestrel Street, Flic en flac,
Attention: Krishna Luchoomun
Tel: +230 575 19 045

Eyasi Road
Plot 41
Light Industrial Area
Attention: Mikocheni B

Dar es Salaam

(PO Box 31715)