The winner of the 2023 ANNA Award is Egyptian artist Nada Baraka. “This award validated a lot of my own struggles and hard work, and quelled my doubts. My mind can’t grasp that I have actually won,” says Baraka.
Baraka creates paintings that maintain an endless, active state of flux, swaying between abstract and surreal with her evocative application and vivid colours.
The core of her work seeks to narrate an experience through expressionist brushwork and surrealist methodology.
Baraka wins an R100,000 cash prize from ANNA, a profile on Latitudes Online, and a year’s supply of ANNA products. Her winning artwork will also be included in the ANNA Award Collection.
“This year’s ANNA Award Top 12 offers fresh voices that have already begun to make their mark on the continent and beyond. While the cohort offers a range of interdisciplinary practices, mediums and conceptual frameworks engaged with the arts landscape on the continent at present, there is a subtle thread that weaves through and connects them all,” says Nina Carew, Head of the ANNA Award.
“The candidates all share stories of their lived experiences, placing a mirror to women’s stories of love and loss, their dreams and ambitions, folklore tales and hardships of life, and notions of belonging or dispossession.
“The award offers a space to reflect society back to us; to bring light to women’s stories and to be able to see parts of ourselves within them. In such an endeavour, Latitudes and ANNA continue to work hard to shine a light on talent on the continent while fostering an ethos of inclusivity.”
A selection committee made up of lawyer and art collector Samallie Kiyingi; popular radio host, actor and public speaker Bridget Masinga; art curator and development strategist Jana Terblanche; and entrepreneur and investment banking professional Freda Isingoma were appointed to adjudicate the entries.
“Now, more than ever, women artists and creatives are at the forefront of telling, documenting and advocating for their own stories. Shining a light on realities that are, or have been in the dark – issues of discrimination, injustice, identity, sexuality etc that have been considered ‘off limits’. Women artists are crucial in telling humanity’s story, and thus it becomes paramount to ensure that they are not only supported, but to ensure that they have the financial freedom that allows them to pursue opportunities and develop careers in their chosen disciplines. We need to be deliberate and considered in advancing progress for women and women-identifying artists and creatives in all spaces and awards such as the ANNA Award do exactly that by providing and opening space for artists,” says Bridget Masinga.
The aim of the award is to discover, recognise and nurture a new generation of women-identifying artists from the African continent and the diaspora. For both ANNA and Latitudes, it is crucial that the ANNA Award is as inclusive as possible. As such, no formal art training is required in order to apply, there are no age restrictions for applicants, and the competition is open to women-identifying artists working in any medium.