We are thrilled to announce Asmaa Jama as the winner of the African/Diaspora Access ART X Prize 2023. Jama was presented with the opportunity at a press conference last week alongside the winner of the Nigerian Award, Julius Agbaje. Both artists will receive residency opportunities at G.A.S. Foundation in Lagos and Gasworks in London respectively with grants of $10,000 each towards exhibitions at ART X Lagos in 2024 alongside mentoring and cultural exchange opportunities to support their success on the global stage.
The 4-week open call process brought in over 3,500 applications from across the globe, more than double the applications received in 2022. The artists were selected by an international jury which included Emeka Ogboh (artist), Gabi Ngcobo (artist, educator and Curatorial Director of the Javett Art Centre), Yesomi Umolu (Director of Curatorial and Public Practice for the Serpentine Galleries), Daudi Karungi (Founder, Afriart Gallery), Barthélémy Toguo (artist) and Babajide Adeniyi-Jones (Documentary Photographer).
Having faced a challenging task in selecting the winners, given the exceptional level of talent and creativity on display, the jury also selected Roanna Tella (Nigerian category) and Lawrence Mwangi (African/Diaspora category) for honourable mentions. Both artists will receive prizes of $2,000 and tailored mentorship. We'd like to thank the prize sponsor Access Corporation, the parent company of Access Bank for their continual support in bolstering the careers of emerging artists from Africa and its diaspora; and would like to extend our congratulations to both the winners and all the shortlisted artists.
ABOUT ASMAA JAMA
Asmaa Jama, a self-taught Somali multidisciplinary artist, writer, and filmmaker in Bristol, explores themes of myth, movement, and migration. Their film works, including "Before We Disappear" (2021) commissioned by BBC Arts and "Except this Time Nothing Returns from the Ashes" (2022) at Spike Island, showcase their interactive storytelling.
Jama's art has reached international platforms like the Venice Architecture Biennale and film festivals such as Blackstar and Sharjah Film Platform. Their writing, commissioned by various institutions, appears in publications like The Poetry Review and Nataal. Jama's theatrical involvement spans writing for productions like "Dorothee Munyaneza’s Mailles" and "Akal."
Jama's impactful writing has been commissioned by respected entities like Jerwood Arts, Hayward Gallery, Arnolfini, and Ifa Gallery, with published works featured in notable publications like The Poetry Review and Nataal.
Jama was commended for the Brunel African Poetry Prize (2022); and shortlisted for the New Poets Prize (2022) Queen Mary Wasafiri Writing Prize (2021); James Berry Poetry Prize (2021); To Speak Europe in Other Languages Prize (2020), and longlisted for National Poetry Competition ( 2021 ) and is a Cave Canem Fellow. Their accolades include commendations for the Brunel African Poetry Prize and residencies at prestigious institutions like the School for Sonic Memory, and Mucem/Onassis Stegi.
Recently, Jama's solo exhibition at Spike Island culminated with a commissioned showcase across 25 billboard sites in Bristol, exhibiting their diverse artistic talent.