ABSA L'Atelier Merit Award

The ABSA L’Atelier is South Africa’s most prestigious art competition and is held annually for artists between ages 21 to 35. This award not only ensures South Africa’s emerging artists of recognition, but also affords them the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. A look through the list of previous winners will testify to this.
 Four prizes will be made available: First prize, two merit award prizes and the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist. 
One of the merit awards is done in cooperation with the Sylt Foundation. The merit winner will sopend a two-month residency on the island of Sylt in Northern Germany.

Henry Obeng, Recycle Frame 2
Handmade paper from jute 182 x 152 cm

Henry Obeng, artist from Ghana, wins the Merit Award of the ABSA L'Atelier Award 2018. In september/october 2019 he will spend his L'Atelier residency on the German island of Sylt.

Henry Obeng: I am an artist from Ghana and live and work in Kumasi. I was born on the 1st January 1993 and completed my basic education in Kumasi, then attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where I focused on sculpture, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Art in May 2016. I’m from the Ashanti tribe and speak a dialect call Twi. After studying, I worked as a teaching assistant to a paper-making lecturer. I then interned with Mary Hark, Professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin, when she was working in her studio in Ghana. I am inspired by the way that people in the area find creative ways to adapt to the environment. This is often done by sourcing or repurposing materials from the same space. While people are answering a basic need, they are also telling their own stories. The individuals in the community therefore solve problems in artistic ways – sometimes even subconsciously – and this has inspired me to make work using materials and repurposing them so that I can tell my own story. I also love music and am a commercial photographer

Description of Artwork

The work is basically a capture of a drainage path for a bath that is printed on to a handmade paper with the use of bamboo. the bamboo was selected when capturing the site of the photograph and it was re used in a different state as a support for my work. The shaped edges were abducted from drawings from cracked walls i see mostly on the outdoor bath and it was done specifically to bring that idea from one space to the other.