Top African artists showcase their works of art in Dakar

The artists are part of the ten selected visionaries participating in the AU20 Artists & Writers Residency Programme

December 14, 2022
AU20 Artists Residency Programme

Lerato Motaung, a South African fine artist, pictured at the public showcase at Loman Art House

Carmen Abd Ali/UNDP Regional Programme for Africa

Dakar, 12 December 2022 -- Five African visual artists publicly showcased their creative works of art, spanning several genres and mediums, on 19 November at Loman Art House in Dakar, Senegal. More than 100 people, including key stakeholders from the Senegalese government, diplomatic and international communities and the art community attended the showcase.

The showcase marked a key moment in the AU20 Artists & Writers Residency Programme, a joint initiative of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support a host of projects aimed at celebrating and commemorating 20 years of the AU’s leadership in fostering peace and prosperity on the continent.

Loman Pawlitschek, founder of Loman Art House, noted: “Loman Art House is privileged to have hosted some of the most creative and innovative artists from across the African continent. The overwhelming response to the call for applications in the Artists Residency Programme is a testament to the creative sector’s ability to further advance our understanding of the artistic process and ensure the contributions and voices of artists can reach wider audiences, including policymakers.”

Implemented by Africa No Filter, the AU20 Artists & Writers Residency Programme recognizes the valuable contribution African creatives have made to sharing the continent’s stories, challenging and transforming harmful narratives, and boosting African economies through job creation and service provision.

Maoulou Diakhaté, Deputy Mayor of the City of Dakar responsible for Culture and Tourism, noted: “We are proud to have hosted this showcase of exceptional and creative artistic talent in Dakar. Art and culture are the soul of the African continent, and the industry needs to be supported, developed and promoted by both the public and private sectors to ensure we achieve sustainable development and support the growth African economies to their full potential.”

Based on the theme “Our Africa, Our Future”, the Artists Residency Programme was held from 7-19 November and provided the visual artists with the time and space to develop and complete their projects while being supported by mentors, workshops, resources and other curated activities. During the two-week residency, the artists were challenged to depict their vision for Africa’s future within the context of the successes of the AU in its 20-year history.

Nadine Rugwe, Governance and Peacebuilding Advisor at the UNDP Sub-regional Hub for West and Central Africa, said: “Through this partnership, UNDP has created an opportunity for creative professionals from across the continent to celebrate and promote Africa’s culture, innovation and artistic creativity. These works of art bear testimony to the creative energy that exists in all quarters of the African continent. It is critical that we continue to provide similar platforms for talented artists to be seen and celebrated.”

The five artists-in-residence in Dakar, together with five writers-in-residence in Accra, Ghana, were selected from almost 1,000 applications following an Africa-wide call launched in September 2022.  

The completed works of the ten visual artists and writers will be featured in a behind-the-scenes documentary and published in a print anthology. Their art will also be exhibited at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the margins of the AU Summit in 2023, providing an opportunity for their work to be seen by African Heads of State and Government, as well as other African and international dignitaries, civil society, media and visitors who frequent the AU headquarters.

The five visual artists are:

  • Eza Komla: a Togolese multidisciplinary artist whose work explores climate change and upcycling waste into artistic, sculptured masterpieces.
  • Ronald Odur: an award-winning Ugandan artist whose work comprises aluminium printing plates, copper wires and acrylics to create a sculpture that expresses the complexities of social and political interactions in Africa.
  • Natnael Ashebir: an Ethiopian visual artist who uses painting, digital art, drawing and photography to explore urbanisation and social structures.
  • Lerato Motaung: a South African fine artist who makes use of the intangible to weave together the familiar and the imagined, to create a personal and intuitive evocation of the continent’s history.
  • Senami Donoumassou: a transdisciplinary artist from Benin, who uses photograms, drawings, and protean installations to explore identity, memory, heritage, and history.


Media inquiries:

Janet Faith Adhiambo Ochieng, Communications Officer-Agenda 2063, African Union

Michelle Mendi Muita, Communications Specialist, Regional Programme for Africa, UNDP

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