BE OPEN Art congratulates the winners of the Regional Art Competition in Central Africa

Throughout 2023, the BE OPEN expert community selected those artists who best represent the artistic tradition of a certain region to feature in the BE OPEN Art gallery and offer them greater visibility. In October, the focus of the competition moved to Central Africa.

Every month of the last decade of 2023, works by 20 emerging artists from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Republic – Brazzaville, the DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé & Principe were posted at the online gallery for the public to select their favourites.

Based on the votes by the public in October, November and December, Marcel Tchopwe, a young artist from Cameroon, Jean D’amour Imanishimwe from Rwanda and Edizon Musavuli, a hyperrealist painter from the DRC, became the Artists of the Month.

This time, BE OPEN proudly invited Aidan Salakhova, a world-renowned artist, sculptor and gallerist, to select the Artist of the Region for Central Africa out of the three monthly winners, and her choice is Marcel Tchopwe, a young artist born in the Far North of Cameroon. Through his work, the artist tries to throw light on the inadequacy of university training in relation to the job market for the Cameroonian youth. The artist will now be offered a grant of 500 euro from BE OPEN.

The Founder of BE OPEN Elena Baturina selected her favourite artist in the region too: Laura Tolen, a French and Cameroonian artist, graduated from Beaux-Arts of Paris School in 2020. Laura’s work mostly relates to “how memory is built and passed down, as well as its role in building intergenerational relationships within the family”. Working with old family pictures, the artist brings together several generations in “a semi-real, semi-fictional family history”.

Elena Baturina commented on the finalization of the programme’s first year: Over this passing year we’ve got in touch with hundreds of amazing emerging artists who helped us expand the map of BE OPEN Art to new regions, cities and communities. We have worked hard to support their aspirations and help them with the difficulties they experience while trying to turn their passion for creativity into their profession. We also see great interest in cultural traditions and visual representation of regional specifics and identities. That is why in 2024, BE OPEN will explore four more regions with less developed art markets to offer our support to those who need it most, and consider expanding the programme even further in the coming years.”

The regional competition runs alongside the regular ongoing work of BE OPEN Art, whose experts every month select 20 new artists for the gallery, and the public names the Artist of the Month and Year.