The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2023 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s
Online Auction: 25–31 January 2023 • 12:00 PM EST • New York

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2023 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s 25–31 January 2023 • 12:00 PM EST • New York

S otheby’s is honoured to host this prestigious benefit auction on behalf of the second exhibition of The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize.

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2023 aims to benefit contemporary artists working in Africa or in the African diaspora by increasing their international exposure in the global art market. The Prize is a collaboration between The Sovereign Art Foundation and Norval Foundation and celebrates the practice of some of the most significant contemporary artists working today.

A total of 326 entries were received from artists from 15 countries. The 30 finalists will present the shortlisted work at an exhibition at Norval Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa on 25 January 2023 and runs until 20 March 2023.

The Grand Prize, to be announced on 25 January, consists of a cash award of ZAR 500,000 and the rare opportunity for a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation. The public are also invited to vote for their personal favourite artist and artwork, the most popular of which will be awarded The Public Vote Prize.

All works, excluding the Grand Prize Winner, will be entered into the auction, which Sotheby’s will take part in administering from 25 January to 31 January. The Prize aims to raise significant funds for the shortlisted artists and for Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre in an equal split. Click here to view the Terms and Conditions.

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The Judges

A board of 35 independent art professionals, comprising of curators and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions, nominated artists to enter The Prize. 30 finalists were then shortlisted by a panel of five world-class art specialists, namely: artist and Grand Prize Winner of The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Bonolo Kavula; writer, curator, and museum director David Elliott; independent exhibition producer, Janine Gaëlle Dieudji; exhibition curator and contemporary art consultant, Marie-Ann Yemsi; and Chief Executive and Director, Design Museum, London, Tim Marlow.

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Aims and Objectives

To exhibit a balanced representation of the most significant contemporary art from the African continent and African diaspora and showcase its diverse character and qualities.

To widen and build knowledge of the work of contemporary artists in the region, to give them public visibility, exposure in the art market and a wider international following.

To display artworks in a considered space so that visitors may directly engage with some of the best contemporary art from the region and to make this exhibition available online to reach as broad an audience as possible.

To raise significant funds for the artists and for Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre.

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How It Works

Nomination and Shortlisting: The Prize invites contemporary artists, nominated by a board of independent art professionals, to each enter up to three artworks online. A judging panel comprised of world-class art experts shortlist the 30 most accomplished artworks from a range of digital entries.

Exhibition and Artwork Auction: The shortlisted artworks are then exhibited at Norval Foundation in Cape Town, where they are judged for a second time and voted on by the public. The judges scores are aggregated, and a Grand Prize winner is named. The other 29 shortlisted artworks are auctioned on Sotheby’ The auction will open on 25 January and close on 31 January at 12:00PMEST. Proceeds from the auction will be split evenly between the artists and Norval Foundation. Artists receive the same split as they would through a gallery and the artworks often fetch higher prices thanks to generous bidding from charity patrons.

Public Vote: To encourage engagement and increase exposure of the artists’ works, the general public are invited to cast a vote online or in person for their favourite artwork displayed in the exhibition. The artwork with the most votes is awarded the Public Vote Prize.

The Prizes

ZAR 500,000, Grand Prize
ZAR 25,000, Public Vote Prize

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A Message From…

Louis Norval, Founder and Chairman, Norval Foundation

“We’re fortunate to have found a committed and dynamic partner in the Sovereign Art Foundation and we would like to thank the Sovereign team for working with us on the second edition of the Norval Sovereign African Art Prize. The Norval Foundation is passionate about educating and making art available to the public, which is why the Prize is so closely aligned with our own vision. By being a catalyst for an artist’s practice through a cash prize and a solo exhibition, bringing visibility to the 29 other shortlisted artists through a substantial communications strategy, and generating funds for our Learning Centre, which in turn allows us to cultivate the next generation of art makers and enthusiasts, we’re able to positively contribute to the arts and arts education in Africa. This partnership is a great example of how two organisations with a shared goal can effectively work together across industries.”

Read more about Norval Foundation here.

Howard Bilton, Chairman and founder of the Sovereign Art Foundation commented:

"This is the second year of our African At Prize and once again we have produced a very strong selection of 30 works from across the continent. 

Our goal for the prize is simple:

We wish to assist African artists by providing an international platform for them to go to the next stage in their careers whilst raising money through the sale kindly conducted by Sotheby’s to help disadvantaged children on the African continent.

Anybody interested in African art should pay attention to the auction and buy these works.  We strongly believe this is a great and unique opportunity for our buyers to bag a piece by a rising star and at the same time help those very much less fortunate than yourselves.

Please bid generously!"

Read more about The Sovereign Art Foundation here.

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About Norval Foundation

Norval Foundation is most dedicated to the research and understanding of twentieth and twenty-first century visual artists from Africa and its diasporas. The Foundation is located within the Steenberg area in Cape Town, alongside the Table Mountain National Park, and combines the experience of art with an appreciation for Cape nature.

Norval Foundation fully supports the ideals surrounding the notion that art has the power to enrich our lives and artists contribute to our communities in the most profound ways. The aim of the Norval family, the founders and initial funders of Norval Foundation, is to make art widely accessible to local and international visitors by creating a self-sustaining centre for the arts. The proceeds raised from capital donations are used to secure the Foundation for future generations.

The Gerard Sekoto Foundation is based at Norval Foundation, as well as the Edoardo Villa Estate Collection and the Alexis Preller Archive.

Click here to

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About Sovereign Art Foundation

Founded in 2003, an initiative of The Sovereign Group, The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) is a charitable organisation with a well-defined twin focus: to recognise the growing wealth of contemporary art talent in Asia and to bring the proven benefits of expressive arts to disadvantaged children by means of education and engagement.

SAF launched The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, now recognised as the most established and very prestigious annual art award in Asia-Pacific. The Prize also increases the international exposure of artists in the region, whilst raising funds by auctioning shortlisted artworks and sharing proceeds equally between the participating artists and SAF, who uses these proceeds to fund programmes that support disadvantaged children using engaging arts. This plan has so far raised over US $9 million for artists and charities worldwide.

In 2013, SAF launched Make It Better (MIB) in Hong Kong, an insightful initiative that supports children from low-income backgrounds and with special educational needs. MIB works in local schools and community centres to offer children a programme of expressive arts workshops designed to help build self-esteem and confidence, as well as self-awareness and interpersonal skills. SAF also supports teachers, social workers and caregivers of these children by introducing them to the beneficial therapy of art.

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2022 Winners

The Newcomers


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