Nigerian, African Diaspora win $20,000 Access Art X grants


Their selection is a testament to their artistic prowess, unique vision, and potential for global impact.

The winners were announced at a ceremony, held at Access Holdings’ headquarters in Lagos.

The Access ART X Prize, a prestigious platform for recognising and nurturing emerging artistic talent from Africa and its diaspora, announced the distinguished winners of its 2023 edition.

Having faced a challenging task in selecting the winners, given the exceptional level of talent and creativity on display, the jury further 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.

Additionally, the Nigerian winner will embark on a three-month residency at Gasworks, London, while the AfricaN Diaspora winner will enjoy a residency at Yinka Shonibare’s GAS Foundation in Lagos. Both recipients will benefit from tailored mentorship and an invaluable opportunity for cultural exchange.

Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings PLC, Herbert Wigwe, said: “At Access Holdings, we view the Access ART X Prize as more than an accolade; rather, as a catalyst for change. It is a testament to our unwavering commitment to foster creativity and propel the African art industry towards unprecedented heights.


“The Prize also embodies a promise that we will continue to support and nurture the burgeoning talents in Africa; foster diversity, inclusivity, and cross-cultural exchange within the African art scene, and deepen collaborations with partners that bring us closer towards our vision of shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for all.”

Speaking on the Access ART X Prize, Tokini Peterside-Schwebig, the founder of ART X Collective, expressed her excitement, stating: “Our vision to showcase the depth and diversity of contemporary African art to the world revealed a critical necessity, which was the need to nurture and guide emerging talent on the continent to ensure their lasting impact. The birth of the Access ART X Prize was fueled by an ardent commitment to bridging the gap for early-career artists, empowering them to evolve into adept, globally relevant creatives.”

The distinguished jury for the 2023 Access ART X Prize comprised luminaries such as Babajide Adeniyi-Jones (Documentary Photographer), Barthélémy Toguo (Artist), Daudi Karungi (Founder of Afriart Gallery), Emeka Ogboh (Artist), Gabi Ngcobo (Artist, Educator, and Curatorial Director of the Javett Art Centre), and Yesomi Umolu (Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice for the Serpentine Galleries). Jumoke Sanwo served as the curator of the prize for the second year running.

Prior to the winner announcement, the finalists participated in a two-day ‘Finalist Forum’, designed to equip them with vital presentation skills and offer valuable artistic insights. This immersive initiative featured interactive workshops, expert and peer review opportunities, all under the guidance of esteemed facilitators and industry experts. The finalists then presented their work to the Prize Jury, after which the eventual winners were selected.

In 2022, the Access ART X Prize expanded its scope to include artists from beyond Nigeria. This expansion marked a milestone in fostering diverse creativity and amplifying the voices of rising talents across the continent. The 2023 edition of the prize garnered an overwhelming response, with over 3,500 applications received from around the world during the 4-week application period. This surge in applications reflects the growing importance of the Access ART X Prize in the art ecosystem and its ability to attract diverse talent from all corners of the globe.