Cameroonian intermedia artist Em’kal Eyongakpa has won the first ever Henrike Grohs Art Award conceived by the Goethe Institut and the Grohs family. On March 13, 2018, he will be awarded a cash prize of 20,000 Euros in Abidjan.
He is the first recipient of this award which was created in memory of Henrike Grohs, a former head of Goethe-Institut Abidjan. She was killed during a terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, on 13 March 2016.
Grohs was instrumental in setting up the Music In Africa project in 2011 and served as a board member of the Music In Africa Foundation for two years.
“The jury unanimously awards the inaugural Henrike Grohs Art Award to Em’kal Eyongakpa for his poetic, subtle and subjective approach,” jury members Koyo Kouoh, Laurence Bonvin, Raphael Chikukwa and Simon Njami said in a joint statement.
“His work expresses universal concerns of humanity. The multidisciplinary stance of his practice, which includes knowledge derived from science, ethnobotany, magical realism, experimentation and utopia, aptly responds to the core values of the Henrike Grohs Art Award.”
“I would like to congratulate the first prize winner Em’kal Eyongakpa with whom, after an intensive selection process, the judges have made an excellent choice,” said Goethe-Institut president Klaus-Dieter Lehmann.
“We have not only lost a highly esteemed and beloved colleague in Henrike Grohs but also a person who carried hope into the world with her beliefs and actions,” He added
“Therefore, it is of particular importance to link the memory of Henrike Grohs to a viewpoint that reflects her work and desires. This has come to fruition in the prize, as it promotes the cause of Henrike Grohs: to support African creative artists and make a contribution towards international dialogue.”
Em’kal Eyongakpa is an intermedia artist who hails from Manyu division, in the South West region of Cameroon. He is known for self-organised community research projects and autonomous art hubs like KHaL!SHRINE in Yaoundé (2007-2012) and the recently launched sound art and music platform ɛfúkúyú. His work was exhibited at the Jakarta Biennale (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017), La Biennale de Montreal (2016), the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), and other influential art platforms.