Nigerian artist, Peju Alatise has been named the winner of the FNB Art Prize at the media launch of the 10th instalment of the FNB JoburgArtFair. Alatise’s works were showcased at the 57th Venice Biennale where for the first time in history a Nigerian Pavilion made its debut.
The Venice Biennale, which Alatise, a visual artist described to CNN as “the Olympics of the Arts” and “the highest level of exhibiting an artist can be honoured with” had her exhibit her installation “Flying Girls,” eight life sized sculptures of girls with wings and birds in mid-flight.
Alatise was nominated by the Red Door Gallery for the FNB JoburgArtFair. The gallery’s founder, Bola Asiru said, “Peju’s work is filled with strong societal narratives on the realities of life in Africa; her message has been heard in West Africa, at the Smithsonian in the United States and the Venice Biennale in Europe. We feel that it’s time for this message to be taken to the rest of Africa and there is no better platform for this than the FNB JoburgArtFair”
In a statement released on Facebook, FNB Joburg Art Fair said: “Although Alatise has a degree in architecture, she has practiced as a studio artist for over thirteen years. Painting dominated her early career and she now creates installations using materials such as cloth, beads, wood, cement and resin. Addressing several social, political and gender-related issues as her primary subject matter, her works have also captured the joys and pain of womanhood as experienced in modern-life-African traditions, with all their consequences. Her subject matter has evolved with her continued experiences, moving her focus from advocating the equal rights of women to broader political and philosophical issues.”
The FNB Art Prize was established in 2011, and participating galleries are given the opportunity to nominate one of their artists for consideration by the jury. The CEO of FNB Share Investing, Annesa Razack said, “we recognise that artistic expression involves creativity and imagination, which we know to be key drivers of innovation.”