World African Artists United

WAAU’s Prize is an international award that will distinguish, support, and promote the internationalization and recognition of African and Afro-descendant contemporary artists.

The prize

The first to create synergies between African and Afro-descendant artists and a network of collectors and art institutions.

WAAU’s Prize aims to acknowledge, encourage, and advocate for the recognition of Africans and Afro-descendants internationally.  It wants to contribute to a greater international attention of African cultural references and their relevance in artistic innovations. 

It is also the mission of this Prize to stimulate new generations of African and Afro-descendant artists, to value their cultural background in close articulation with other cultures and help them develop their practice in the field of Contemporary Arts.

The Panel’s Selection

25 selected artists will be invited to apply for the Prize.

The panel’s selection will be composed by a group of five experts in contemporary art, curators, reviewers, authors, and artists.

In a meeting held by the scientific direction of the Prize, each member will appoint five artists and two alternates, to reach a total of 25. The selected artists will be invited by the members of the panel who indicated them to apply for the Prize.

The panel’s selection will be announced during the ARCO Lisboa art fair, the year before the Prize-giving ceremony. The decision of the panel is final and not appealable.

Eligibility Criteria

The chosen artists will be invited to register online on the WAAU Platform.


The online forms must include the portfolio presentation, with a minimum of 25 original works of art, being at least 15 of them available to be sold during the exhibition. Art pieces in the mediums of painting, drawing, engraving, sculpture, object, photography, video, and installation, will be considered.

At least 3 pictures per work of art must be supplied with a datasheet, a CV, and a document attesting the origin or descent.

If selected as finalists, the artists must commit to assign their selected works of art, mentioned in the portfolio as available, to be shown in exhibitions in Lisbon.

Prize Panel

The Prize panel will be composed by the art curator responsible for the finalists’ exhibition and the contemporary art curators who will welcome the Prize-winner for an individual exhibition or artistic residence.

After analyzing the applications, the Prize Panel will choose 5 finalists to be presented in a joint exhibition in Lisbon, as part of the ARCO Lisboa Art Fair programme. 

The panel is invited to come to Portugal to attend the finalists’ combined exhibition and choose, unanimously, the final Prize-winner, in a meeting conducted by the scientific direction of the Prize, who is not entitled to vote.

Finalists and winner

The finalists will be presented in a museum of one of the Prize associates, in Lisbon.

The finalists’ presentation will take place alongside an exhibition held by the invited curator, who will select a group of 10 works of art per artist.

Besides the exhibition, a catalogue will be created to record the works of the five selected artists. The catalogue’s public release will be at the Prize ceremony.

The finalists and the Prize winner will be addressed with special promotion attention on the WAAU Platform,  which for the following two years will follow the activities of the artists, encouraging galleries and other entities to participate. 

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