Art for Change Prize Winner Announcement
M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery reveal six international winners of inaugural Art for Change Prize for emerging artists
Thursday 8thDecember 2022: Today, M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery announce Samuel Nnorom from Nsukka, Africa, as the overall winner of their annual international art initiative, Art for Change Prize, which invited emerging artists from around the world to creatively respond to the theme of ‘Equality’ for the chance to win a grand prize of £10,000.
Last night, Samuel was announced as the overall winner of the Art for Change Prize at a dedicated exhibition unveiling at Saatchi Gallery, by Chair of Judges, Sinta Tantra. He will receive a £10,000 cash prize, as well as having his winning artwork, After the Pandemic, displayed in the gallery from 8th December 2022 until 6th January 2023.
Hailing from Abia Nigeria, Samuel discovered his talent at the age of 9years while assisting his father in his shoe workshop. His work is inspired by time spent in his mother’s tailoring workshop as a child, where he first experimented with colourful fabrics, sewing needles and thread.
Today, Samuel holds a B. Aed (sculpture major) from the University of Jos and is currently concluding an MFA in sculpture from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Samuel belongs to the New Nsukka School of Art and he is currently exploring Okirika clothes and Ankara fabric using bubbles techniques as sculptural media. The choice of Ankara fabric represents the identity of his local community and plays with the idea of ‘social fabric’; the different relationships and connections that are encapsulated in bubbles which hold society together.
After the Pandemic was created in response to COVID-19, where people settled in fragments and lived separately in their own bubbles. It encourages us to reflect on how people were affected differently and the impact that this has had on equality.
Artist Statement: ‘My body of work is made from pieces of Ankara fabric/ African wax print fabrics collected from either tailor's debris or cast-off clothes from homes and waste foams from furniture workshops wrapped and stitched into bubbles of various colours and sizes; through actions like sewing, rolling, tying, stringing, suspending, cutting, among others, which navigate boundaries between textiles, painting and sculpture in a poetic rendition. I am interested in the identity and meaning that fabrics represent especially the Ankara fabric which is mostly consumed in [my] local community and west Africa. Fabric suggests to me as a social structure or social organization that weaves humanity into society; in the case of “fabric of society” or “social fabric”, however, it is peculiar to different societies while bubble suggests a structure that holds or stores something for a period of time. My work processes through actions like cutting, rolling, stitching, sewing and installation to engage viewers in self-interrogation, critical thinking and questioning of sociopolitical structures and the human conditions of what truth and conspiracy connote to our daily lives wrapped in bubbles.’
Art for Change Prize reignites access to art and culture amongst younger and underrepresented audiences, and in doing so aims to inspire a new, more diverse generation of creatives. With over 2,500 entries received from artists based in 130 countries within M&C Saatchi key global regions (UK, Europe, Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa), a winner from each location was carefully selected by some of the best business and creative minds from M&C Saatchi Group globally and a special selection of eminent guest judges*. Each winner in this non-for-profit initiative will receive a £2,000 cash prize, as well as having their artworks displayed alongside Samuel’s at Saatchi Gallery.
- Americas Winner – Rachel Zhang from Pennsylvania,United States for her works The American Dream and Fruit Market in the Gvnt’s Garden
- Asia Winner – Sharon Cheung from Hong Kong for her Our Time series
- Australia Winner – Clare Jaque Vasquez from Queensland, Australia for her work The Hunter & Gatherer
- Europe Winner – Jaroslaw Lisicki from Wroclaw, Poland for his works Untitled and We
- UK Winner – Felix Chesher from London, England for this works Proximity and PrEP
The competition was launched as part of a shared mission by M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery in making art, culture, and creativity accessible to everyone. The aim is to highlight and stimulate dialogue around visual arts as an active medium for positive global and social change and give exposure to emerging artists worldwide.
Richard Thompson, M&C Saatchi UK Group Chairman: “London is at the heart of the creative industry, but currently due to big Government funding cuts in the arts industry there have been significant drops in the numbers of people taking art at A Levels. This is having a direct impact on the creative industry and we’re currently facing a creativity gap which is also underpinned by Diversity and Inclusion challenges.”
“At M&C Saatchi Group we have chosen to be a leader and invest into the culture sector through several initiatives, such as becoming Principal Patron of the Saatchi Gallery, and establishing the Art for Change Prize. Through this platform we want to give a voice to underrepresented groups by shining a light on what they do, inspire their peers, break down barriers to entry within the creative career industry, and encourage people across the globe to choose art and creativity as a career choice.”
“It’s been extraordinary to have received an unprecedented number of entries in our first year of the competition, making Art for Change Prize a truly unique global art initiative; and we anticipate that each year the competition will continue to grow in size and demand. This year’s entries are truly incredible, and it’s inspiring to see each artist individually interpret the brief of ‘equality’ in their own unique way. It’s been a while since there has been an icon in the contemporary art scene, but who knows, we may have just found the next Damien Hirst or Tracy Emin!”
Sinta Tantra, Chair of Judges, said: “As artists, we are trained to analyse not only the final product of what is seen, but the narratives of the unseen. The judges this year were not only impressed with the sculptural presence of Samuel’s work but moreover his process of making.”
“At times Samuel works alone, and at other times employs others to help produce the larger scale pieces. As such he could be seen an artistic conductor, physically weaving together people and materials to form communities.”
“I believe the Art for Change Prize is not only about what makes good art or bad art. It is about fostering artists as community leaders, empowering themselves and those around, and inspiring change. Both now and for the future.”
June Sarpong, OBE and Art for Change Judge commented: “It has been an absolute honour to be a judge for the inaugural Art for Change Prize, the entrees were truly phenomenal, and it was wonderful to see so many talented artists from all over the world using their visual storytelling for good."
Paul Foster, Director Saatchi Gallery: “Saatchi Gallery worked closely with M&C Saatchi to develop the framework for the Art For Change Prize and we are delighted with the high volume of submissions and the vast array of creative individuals this initiative has reached worldwide. We congratulate the incredible selection of regional winners and we cannot wait to see the response to the exhibition of their works this December.”
Asia: Ali Shabaz, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi Singapore, Tony Liu, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi aeiou Shanghai, Circe Henestrosa, Fashion Curator & Head of the School of Fashion at Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore.
UK: Ben Golik, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi London, Darren Bowles, Partner & Executive Creative Director at Re, Part of M&C Saatchi Group, June Sarpong OBE, Author & Broadcaster.
Europe: Vincenzo Gasbarro, Co-Founder & Creative Partner at M&C Saatchi Milan, Klara Eide, Partner & Executive Strategy Director at M&C Saatchi Stockholm, Daniel Sundin, Founder of Litz Art Space Stockholm & Partner & Account Director at M&C Saatchi Stockholm.
Americas: Nicholos Rotondi, Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment North America, Lucas Crigler, Creative Director at SS+K, Part of M&C Saatchi Group, Andre Bato, Founder, Director & Creative Director at Andre Bato Corp.
Africa: Neo Mashigo, Chief Creative Officer at M&C Saatchi Abel South Africa, Robert Grace, Founding Partner and Head of Strategy at M&C Saatchi Abel South Africa, Mary Corrigall, African Art Critic & Founder of Corrigall & Co.
Australia: Emma Robbins, National Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Australia, Sharon Edmondston, Creative Director at M&C Saatchi Sydney, Blak Douglas, Artist and 2022 Archibald Prize winner.
**More information on the winners’ and their submissions, can be found at https://mcsaatchi.com/artforchangeprize