Prize-winning portal

Amina Agueznay is the winner of the 2024 Norval Sovereign African Art Prize.

Renowned Moroccan artist and architect Amina Agueznay has won the highly esteemed Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2024 for her remarkable tactile and sensory piece, ‘Portal #1’.


The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize is an annual award that celebrates the practices of leading contemporary artists from Africa and its diaspora. A collaboration between Norval Foundation and The Sovereign Art Foundation, the prize grants the winner a solo exhibition at Norval Foundation and a financial prize of USD 35 000 (approximately R60 000). 


A board of independent arts professionals – comprising curators, writers and academics who work closely with artists in their respective regions – nominated 375 artists to enter, after which 30 finalists, representing 18 different nationalities, were then shortlisted by a panel of five world-class art specialists: Ashraf Jamal, Heba El Kayal, MarieAnn Yemsi, Ngaire Blankenberg and former Design Indaba journalist and editor Sean O’Toole.


From the shortlist of finalists, Agueznay was announced as the grand prize winner for her work featuring natural materials such as palm husk, untreated wool and palm leaves. ‘Portal #1’ originated from an invitation by eco-architect and anthropologist Salima Naji to Agueznay to lead workshops for the women of Tissekmoudine, a ‘ksar’ or settlement in southern Morocco. Central to the ksar’s identity are its doors – sketches of which were transformed into wool weavings. Ageuznay then developed her own interpretations of these doors in her winning artwork. 


‘I am so honoured, and that I am being awarded a prize from another part of the continent other than where I am from is that much greater! The recognition means the world to me and a win such as this reassures me that the way I have been pursuing my work and how I want to work in the future is the correct way,’ commented Agueznay on her win. 


An exhibition featuring the artworks of the finalists will be showcased at the Norval Foundation in Steenberg until 12 May 2024 where the public is invited to cast a vote for their favourite artwork on display. The artwork with the most votes is awarded the Public Vote Prize and receives USD 2 000 (approximately R37 000).  


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