Nafasi Art Space congratulates Winifrid Luena

Nafasi Art Space congratulates Winifrid Luena

“There is a sense in the world at times that being an individual is a collective process – that it is part of a larger argument intended to bring some kind of human liberation, that it is an act of authority and power over the self – which is why I divide these two terms. If individualism is a process, then individuality is a state.”

Winifrid Luena

Nafasi Art Space congratulates Winifrid Luena on winning the prestigious 34th annual Absa L‘Atelier competition which took place in Cape Town, South Africa this year. Every year Absa in association with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA) rewards young african artists for their exceptional work and provides them with opportunities and possibilities to develop their work abroad. This includes the support and practicing of management skills to promote their career as professional artists, create a striving platform for young african artists which helps them to network and connect with other artists all over the world and the development of their own art itself.

Since 2017 Luena has been a member of the Nafasi community, and as an young artist he attended various workshops. He had the opportunity to work with different artist from around Africa such as Serge Diakota (Kinshasa), Kresiah Mukwazhi (Harare), and Jean Katambayi (Lubumbashi), who were artists in residence at Nafasi supported by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg mobility grants. His presented work was a mixture of digital art and photography based on the themes of individuality.

Luena is one out of four winners among a crowd of talented young artists who apply every year and the first Tanzanian ever to win this award. The competition is open to artists aged between 21 and 40 years; those with formal training as well as self-taught artists, are afforded an equal chance to participate. Every participant represented his country, during the process of adjudication the artists compete within each group. In the end one winner out of each group was selected, representing the country. As a winner he will become an ambassador and has the opportunity for an one-month residency in Paris in the following year. Networking among young artists and the offering of critical support and mentoring will be main goals. After their stay in Paris the group of ambassadors will attend another three-month residency in South Africa which will be followed by an exhibition in the end of the residency. The result of the residency will be featured in the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg combining individual artworks and collaboration works and documented in a catalogue.

Winifrid Luena is one of Nafasi‘s emerging young artists, and we sat down for a longer conversation, which will be published in the coming week on the Nafasi website. During the conversation we want to know more about Luena’s background, his work and the powerful meaning behind it. We want to talk about opportunities young african artists have but also about the challenges they have to face.