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Art for Change Prize: Meet the Overall Winner and Regional Winner for Africa

Advertising Agency
Johannesburg, South Africa
Global creative solutions company M&C Saatchi Group and London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery launched a new annual international art initiative – the Art for Change Prize. Meet the six winners, chosen from over 2,500 entries from 130 countries worldwide

As part of a shared mission in making art, culture, and creativity accessible to everyone, this prize will stimulate dialogue around visual arts as a medium for positive global and social change and give exposure to emerging artists worldwide. 

M&C Saatchi's six winners from around the world were decided by some of the best business and creative minds from the M&C Saatchi Group globally and eminent guest judges. In this Art for Change series, we hear from our winners for 2022. Find out what inspires them artistically, what equality means to them, and what’s coming up next. 

The Art for Change Prize will return in Spring 2023.

Introducing Samuel Nnorom from Nigeria. Learn more about Samuel’s work here.

Artist Samuel Nnorom with his overall winning entry, ‘After the Pandemic’, at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Image credit: Tom Shaw

1. Describe your artistic practice in three words.

Samuel> Questioning, engaging, phenomenal 

2. What excites you most about the Art for Change Prize?

Samuel> I’m most excited with the quality of works selected for the finals and by the opportunity to meet the artists from different continents at the launch event. I think the initiative will foster a global art appreciation and give an opportunity for emerging artists to be spotlighted and encouraged. 

3. You have been selected as the winner for Africa. Tell us about your winning artwork and the relationship to this year’s theme ‘Equality’.

Samuel> Equality to me means respect for humanity and understanding our cultural differences and uniqueness so social commonality and communality can be celebrated. My work encourages people to connect beyond cultural and social identity to unify humanity. My work 'After the Pandemic' references the social bubbles people created for themselves during the covid-19 pandemic, which brought lots of physical and mental distancing. I become interested in encouraging people to reconnect through my work process by employing people from my community to assist with the rolling, tying, stitching and sewing of my fabric. This process fostered social and physical engagement and my use of waste fabric contributes to the environmental ecosystem for natural equality.

4. Can you tell us more about where you are from and how this affects your work?

Samuel> My name is Samuel Nnorom a native of Isiukwuato Abia state, born in 1990 in Jos North Plateau state, Nigeria. I discovered my talent at the age of nine while assisting my father in his shoe workshop. There I started making life drawings of customers. I am also influenced by my mother's tailoring workshop, where I played with colourful fabrics, sewing needles and thread as a kid. My attraction to local fabrics has come from my childhood experiences at my mother’s tailor shop and the availability of Ankara fabrics as everyday cloth, given that, the material remains of people tell us more about them. However, the socio-political, truths and conspiracies of human existence informed and inspired my bubble technique as a visual discourse to explain the uncertainty and liminality of human conditions.

5. Where do you find your inspiration?

Samuel> My inspiration comes from daily activities and how people engage with challenges and connect to society.

6. Do you believe art has the power to change the world?

Samuel> Yes. I am an advocate for art as a panacea and tool for the political, social, mental, environmental, and cultural change that the world needs by encouraging people to question current structures.

7. If you could be compared to one artist from art history, who would it be?

Samuel> El Anatsui has remained an important personality in my creation process. I do think that every great artist in history has contributed to the art world and comparing myself to any one of them would be unfair. Rather, I’m concerned about making my own contribution.

8. What’s next?

Samuel> Going back to the studio to create. I will also get more communities (hopefully from different global communities) involved in my work through their materials, skills, labour and cultural practices. 

My dream has always been to contribute to the global community. Therefore, I am launching a free studio residency programme to help new art graduates from universities or colleges around my community to transit smoothly from the academic approach to the real art world, through collaborations, mentorship and guidance for 6months period. 

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