Issue 036 – Festivals, Awards & Prizes
An Editorial Note
What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear about an art festival: Can I go? Who will be there? And if an artist has won a prize or an award, do you immediately want to look them up and consume what they are producing?
Festivals, awards and prizes showcase art in a unique way. These outlets make the arts more public. They serve to legitimise or judge the arts. Furthermore, they are spaces for conversations amongst masters of their respective discipline. The curiosity extends to whether or not these opportunities are relevant to artistic practice. Do they challenge the nature of how art is made or is it purely to showcase something upon the funder’s request?
Eastern Africa has grown its fair share of arts related festivals, prizes and awards, but mortality rates are high. Not every festival endures, not every prize launches the artist into a successful career; conversely, the most recognised artists will not always win.
Over the next month, we invite our readers to join us in analysing the role festivals, awards and prizes play in the development of the arts. From the macro to the micro, from the Venice Biennale to Uganda’s Bayimba, our writers unpack aspects of public compilations and collective judgement to criticise fears and celebrate achievements.