The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize aims to benefit artists living in Africa or of the African diaspora by increasing their international exposure, whilst raising funds for arts education programmes on the continent.
Leading contemporary artists, nominated by a board of independent art professionals, are invited to enter artworks online. A judging panel comprised of global art specialists shortlist the 30 most accomplished artworks from the range of digital entries.
The shortlisted works 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 is aggregated and a Grand Prize winner named, receiving US$35,000 in cash and a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation in future. The Public Vote winner is awarded US$2,000.
The other shortlisted artworks are auctioned through a charity auction. Proceeds split evenly between the artists and Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre.
Aims and Objectives
To exhibit a balanced representation of the most significant contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora and showcase its diverse character and qualities.
To nurture talented artists from Africa and its diaspora, providing an opportunity for them to achieve record prices and gain exposure to a wider international following.
To raise significant funds for the artists and for Norval Foundation’s Learning Centre, which uses art to empower learners and educators by developing their visual and verbal literacy, fostering capacity for creative thinking and improved interpretation skills.
To allow local and international visitors to Cape Town to directly engage with some of the best contemporary art from the region by exhibiting the works at Norval Foundation - and to make this exhibition available online to reach as broad an audience as possible.
Norval Foundation is a centre for art and cultural expression, dedicated to the research, education and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from Africa and its diaspora. Located in the Steenberg area of Cape Town, adjacent to Table Mountain National Park, the Norval Foundation combines the experience of art with an appreciation for nature. The Sculpture Garden, Learning centre, outdoor amphitheatre, purpose-built exhibition spaces and research library are situated in a unique setting that offers visitors a multisensory experience.
We aim to make art widely accessible to local and international visitors by creating a self-sustaining centre for art. We achieve this by creating high-quality exhibitions and facilitating an extensive education programme through our Learning centre. Norval Foundation is honoured to be the custodian of the Gerard Sekoto Foundation, the Edoardo Villa Estate Collection and the Alexis Preller Archive. We believe that art has the power to enrich lives and that artists contribute to our communities in a profound way.
Sovereign Art Foundation
The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) is a charitable organisation founded in 2003 to recognise and promote contemporary art talent and bring the therapeutic benefits of expressive arts to disadvantaged children.
In the same year, SAF launched The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, now recognised as the most established and prestigious annual art award in Asia-Pacific. The Prize 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. In 2022, SAF launched professional prizes in Africa and Portugal. SAF uses proceeds raised to fund programmes that support disadvantaged children using expressive arts. This model has so far raised US$10 million for artists and charities worldwide.
These programmes include Make It Better (MIB), an initiative that supports children from low-income backgrounds and with special educational needs in Hong Kong.
Nomination and Shortlisting
The Prize invites contemporary artists, nominated by a group of independent art professionals who are largely based in Africa or closely associated with it, to each enter up to three artworks online. A judging panel comprised of leading art experts shortlist the 30 most accomplished artworks from a range of digital entries.
Exhibition and Artwork Auction
The 30 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 shortlisted artworks are auctioned, and proceeds split evenly between the artists and Norval Foundation. We encourage the Foundation’s patrons to bid on the shortlisted artworks.
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.
Grand Prize: USD 35,000 and a future solo exhibition at Norval Foundation
Public Vote: USD 2,000