The African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African art. The underlying tenets of AAF are capacity building, peer support and advocacy.
Established in 2007 in Lagos, Nigeria, African Artists’ Foundation aims to encourage the highest standard of art in Africa. African Artists’ Foundation serves a significant role in art and academic communities through organizing art exhibitions, festivals, competitions, residencies, and workshops with the aim of unearthing and developing talent, creating societal awareness, and providing a platform to express creativity. By providing assistance to professional and emerging artists in Africa and support to international exhibitions and community outreach programmes, African Artists’ Foundation views the contribution to a strong cultural landscape in Africa as a transformative element in driving social change.
In addition to a rigorous programme of exhibitions and workshops at its gallery in Lagos, African Artists’ Foundation organises two flagship projects annually, the LagosPhoto Festival and the National Art Competition.
Launched in 2010, LagosPhoto is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. In a month long festival, events include exhibitions, workshops, artist presentations, discussions, screenings, and large scale outdoor prints displayed throughout the city with the aim of reclaiming public spaces and the general public with multifaceted stories of Africa. LagosPhoto presents a contemporary and historical visual essay of the continent to both a local and global audience.
The National Art Competition is an annual arts competition organised by African Artists’ Foundation, with each edition driven by pertinent themes in line with current social issues. In its six year span, the National Art Competition has showcased emerging talent in such diverse mediums as painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation, and video art. With a focus on the processes of artistic creation rather than solely the end product, artists are asked to submit a proposal for an unrealized work. After hundreds of entries, twelve finalists are invited to take part in an artist retreat, where workshops by leading artists, professors, curators, and arts professionals allow finalists to flesh out the conceptual threads of their proposal and work together in a studio environment. Each year, the competition includes cash prizes totalling four and a half million Naira and provides the artists national and international exposure and exhibition opportunities.