The recently released Art Basel & UBS 2019 Art Market Report revealed that sales in the global art market in 2018 reached $67.4 billion, with record art sales from major African artists such as Ben Enwonwu (Nigeria) and El Anatsui (Ghana) to name a few. It is the second-highest level in 10 years. The same report accounts that the art market currently employs close to 3 million people. These findings confirm that investing and supporting the art sector would generate direct economic growth and employment in Africa.
Yet, the reality for the majority of young African artists is a daily struggle to gather funds for materials, lack of exhibition spaces and lack of institutional and government support.
Providing economic opportunities for art practitioners is one of the reasons that motivated Elikem Nutifafa, in 2013, to establish the Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art (‘the Kuenyehia Trust’).The not-for-profit organisation aims to support emerging and mid-career African artists, advance contemporary African Art, especially art of Ghanaian origin locally and internationally, promote a vibrant market for art locally and encourage art literacy.
To this end, the Kuenyehia Trust has invested over one million Ghana Cedis (GHS 1,000,000) to the Ghanaian art ecosystem through the Kuenyehia Prize, the ‘Telling Tall Stories’ thought leadership seminars, a creative accelerator programme, hosting or supporting local and international exhibitions. The prominence that the Kuenyehia Trust gives to artists provides them with an accelerated boost in their careers, direct financial gain and immense opportunity both locally and internationally. As the 2016 Award winner Bright Ackwerh puts it: “On the day when I was named the recipient of the overall prize, standing next to El Anatsui, my speechlessness on stage alone would tell how I felt. From then on it was a steady climb for my work and my brand. I had the chance to learn from well-seasoned experts on various topics that could better shape my practice and career. I also received state of the art equipment to boost my studio practice. Years on my relationship with the trust has grown even stronger. We continue to participate in workshops, exhibitions, fairs and symposiums and are given the opportunity to grow further.”
On the occasion of its fifth anniversary, the Kuenyehia Trust is launching a fundraising campaign, aiming to raise GHS 100,000 in 50 days to fuel its ongoing goal of promoting and supporting contemporary African art, from Monday 15th July to Saturday 31st August 2019. The goal of this fundraising drive is to organise a number of exhibitions, including a special Year Of Return exhibition, and to promote art education.
Bank Account: Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art – Ecobank Tesano – 1441002204584 – Swift/sort code: ECOCGHAC
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Milestones of the The Kuenyehia Trust for Contemporary Art
- The Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art is currently the only indigenous private art prize in Ghana for Fine Art.
- Prize money of GHS 110,00 given to award winners
- 4 seasons of the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Art with over 250 artists applying
- 3 seasons of Thought Leadership Seminars for art to influence practice and policy
- Participation of selected shortlisted artists in 2 international exhibitions, 3 African Art Fairs and 10 local exhibitions organised by the Kuenyehia Trust
- 4 seasons of the Creative Accelerator Program; a 360 degree development program for long and shortlisted artists of the Kuenyehia Prize facilitated by business experts, art educators and leading artists
- Collaborations with renowned cultural institutions: ANO Gallery, British Council Accra, Alliance Française, Dei Centre for Contemporary African Art
The flagship of the Kuenyehia Trust, the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Art identifies, rewards and helps develop Ghana’s most outstanding artists between the ages of 25 and 40. Winners and runners-up benefited from prize money of thirty-five thousand cedis (GHS 35,000) in 2018.
The prominence that the Kuenyehia Trust gives to artists provides them with an accelerated boost in their careers, direct financial gain and immense opportunity both locally and internationally.