Young Egyptian artist wins South Africa's prestigious art competition

Ahram Online , Friday 15 Jul 2016

Photographer Nourhan Maayouf is the first Egyptian to the top prize at the annual Barclays L’Atelier contemporary art competition

Nourhan Maayouf
Winning work by Nourhan Maayouf

Egyptian photographer Nourhan Maayouf was announced as the winner of the main prize at the 2016 Barclays L’Atelier, described on its website as the South Africa's most prestigious contemporary art competition.

The competition, which was open for entries between January and March, has revealed the results this week.

The award comes with R225,000 prize ($15,700) and a six-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Maayouf – listed as Nourhan Refaat on the prize's website – entered a body of work titled July Tale, a series of three portraits, each depicting "the complexity of a relationship. The attachment of two souls in spite of being blind and silent about their mutual issues," the notes accompanying the work reveal.

According to the competition's website, 26-year-old Maayouf is a self-taught artist and a graduate from the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University and The American University in Cairo.

She also obtained an Integrated Marketing Communications Diploma from the International Advertising Association.

Barclays L’Atelier is an annual competition launched in 2007, which each year expands to new African countries with Barclays operations.

Since 2015, artists from South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Eqypt, Mauritius and Seychelles have been able to submit their entries. The competition is open to artists with formal training as well as those self-taught, aged 21 to 35 years old.

The jury selects the finalists from whom they then award one main winner and three Merit Awards (first, second and third).

Nourhan Maayouf is the only Egyptian artist to have reached the finalist shortlist this year and the only Egyptian to have won the main award in the competition's history. 

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