Vitjitua Ndjiharine (Namibia) and Alexandre Kyungu Mwilambwe (the Democratic Republic of Congo) are the first recipients of the El Anatsui Visiting Artist Fellowships for Africa-Based Artists. They are stand next to an etching press, posing with their in progress work behind them.
Artist Vitjitua Ndjiharine, from Namibia, and Alexandre Kyungu Mwilambwe, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, stand next to the etching press as they work on proofing colors with Alexis Nutini of Dos Tres Press. They are the first recipients of the El Anatsui Visiting Artist Fellowships for Africa-Based Artists. (Photo by Gustavo Garcia)

El Anatsui Visiting Artist Fellowships

for Africa-Based Artists

Application Deadline: March 31, 2024. 11:59 PM EST (extended)

Download PDF catalog by clicking here

The El Anatsui Fellowships for Africa-Based Artists will further the artistic, professional, and personal development of artists living and working in Africa who exhibit talent and are committed to a career as a visual artist. BWA and Anatsui are particularly focused on serving the needs of artists who are disadvantaged by socioeconomic factors and/or have limited access to the art market, gallery representation, and institutional support due to location. During the artists’ concurrent residencies, they will visit artist studios and art museums in Philadelphia, PA, New York City, NY, Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.

The annual, month-long El Anatsui Fellowships take place every October (the inaugural El Anatsui Fellowship began in 2023). Awardees will be selected each spring by a panel composed of artists and curators based in Africa and the United States. Anatsui will continue his collaborative, creative relationship with BWA, producing innovative prints that can be sold to increase the endowment and the number of fellowship opportunities it supports annually going forward.

Long acclaimed as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, El Anatsui (b. 1944) was born in Ghana and has lived and worked for most of his adult life in Nigeria. In 2019, he retired from a 44-year tenure with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After receiving the Brandywine Workshop and Archives’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, Anatsui made a commitment to donate art to be sold by BWA to support a new, ongoing program providing residencies in printmaking for artists living and conducting their studio practice in Africa. This unprecedented and impactful initiative-named the El Anatsui Fellowships for Africa-Based Artists-honors and solidifies Anatsui’s legacy as a mentor, supporter, and advocate for underresourced artists while further realizing his commitment to sharing his success with the next generation.

El Anatsui signing prints in the workshop.
El Anatsui in the studio at Brandywine Workshop and Archives signing edition. (Photo by Gustavo Garcia)

In summer 2021, Wade in the Water-a major new sculpture by Anatsui-was fabricated remotely at BWA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon its completion in spring 2022, Anatsui donated Wade in the Water to BWA to be sold at Sotheby’s in London. It sold for $1.26 million, with all revenues designated to help establish the El Anatsui Endowment Fund at BWA, which will underwrite travel and living expenses, provide an honorarium, and deliver all the creative and technical resources and opportunities of a month-long residency for two Africa-based artists each year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the El Anatsui Fellowships for Africa-Based Artists?

The El Anatsui Fellowships are a recently established, annual opportunity for two artists living and conducting their studio practices in Africa to travel to the United States for a four-week residency in printmaking at the Brandywine Workshop and Archives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the month of October.

What does each Fellowship include?

Each artist receives a grant totaling $25,000 (US) per artist to cover all travel and lodging expenses, daily food allowance, and all expenses associated with securing a work-permit. Upon completion of their residency, each artist is awarded a $5,000 stipend to continue their artistic practice in Africa. Each El Anatsui Fellow will be expected to produce a minimum of two editioned prints, which will be split 50/50 between the artist and BWA (artists will receive the odd-numbered prints). A few prints will be added for posterity to BWA’s Permanent Collection; all other prints retained by Brandywine will be made available for sale and distribution to art museums and other collecting institutions across the United States and abroad. Per their own preferences, artists may sell, otherwise distribute, or maintain their portions of the editions. Artists will work with one or more of BWA’s master printers to produce their artwork. They are offered travel opportunities to visit art museums and artists’ studios in Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC, during their residencies.

How to Apply for the Fellowship

Artists interested in applying for this opportunity should submit their materials via email to:

In the Subject line note: “El Anatsui Fellowship”

Please provide a letter and artwork samples as your full application. The guidelines for each component are below.

Letter guidelines:

  • Supply your full name, address, city, country, and country code as they will appear on your travel documents including passport and visa.
  • Tell us your age, where and/or with whom you may have studied or if you are self-taught.
  • Should you have any physical or health disabilities, please share so we may properly plan for and accommodate your needs.
  • Let us know the language(s) you speak.
  • Tell us something about your focuses and interests in the visual arts and how a residency in printmaking at Brandywine will help to advance your practice and career.

Artwork samples guidelines:

  • Attach 8-10 digital photos of your most recent artwork. Files must be JPG or JPEG up to 2000 pixels on the longest side.
  • Artwork checklist with relevant information including: title, medium, dimensions or size, year of completion.

The letter and artwork samples photos can also be submitted as a single PDF letter size document that includes relevant information.

Notification of decisions

A Selection Panel including representatives from the US and Africa will review all applicants and render its decisions by the end of April. In coordination with BWA staff, Fellowship recipients will then immediately begin the visa process and schedule travel to the US.

Selection Committee

El Anatsui

Born in Anyako, Ghana, sculptor El Anatsui received a BA from the College of Art at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, where he taught from 1969 to 2011 as a professor of sculpture.

Anatsui’s work has been featured in exhibitions around the world including the Carnegie International in 2018; the Marrakech Biennale in 2016; Contemporary 2 at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, in 2015; and the Venice Biennale in both 1990 and 2007, which awarded Anatsui the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2015. In 2017, he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, the first Ghanaian to win this international art prize. Anatsui is well-known for his large-scale sculptures composed of thousands of folded and crumpled metal objects sourced from local alcohol recycling stations and bound together with copper wire. These intricate works, which can grow to be massive in scale, are both luminous and weighty, meticulously fabricated yet malleable.

Nomusa Makhubu, PhD

South African born Nomusa Makhubu earned her BFA, MA, PhD, and PGDHE at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and is an art historian and artist based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Makhubu’s artistic practice explores the construction of identities through colonial histories and presents, using photographic self-portraiture, projection, and collage. Holding a PhD in art history and a rich publication record, Makhubu is also a leading pedagogical and curatorial presence in the African arts scene.

Julie McGee, PhD

Dr. McGee has been on the University of Delaware, Newark faculty since 2008 as an associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies and Art History. Dr. McGee earned her BA at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, and her MA and PhD in the history of art at Bryn Mawr College, PA. Her research areas are in African American art with a focus on modern and contemporary, African American and South African contemporary art and cultural heritage, and contemporary art of Africa and its diaspora, among others.

Chika Okeke-Agulu, PhD

An artist, critic, and art historian, Okeke-Agulu specializes in indigenous, modern, and contemporary African and African Diaspora art history and theory. Born in Umuahia, Nigeria, Okeke-Agulu earned an MFA in painting from the University of Nigeria, and a PhD in art history from Emory University. He previously taught at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He currently serves at Princeton University, NJ, as director of the program in African studies and director of the African World Initiative.

Professor Okeke-Agulu is also Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford (2023) and was elected Fellow of The British Academy in 2022.

José Ortiz-Pagán

José Ortiz-Pagán is a visual artist and cultural administrator born in Puerto Rico and living in Philadelphia. He earned an MFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at TempleUniversity, Philadelphia. Ortiz-Pagan has received awards and developed projects with organizations including Second State Press, Taller Puertorriqueño, and Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Museum), Philadelphia; and the Museum of History, Anthropology and Art at the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan. His work has been featured in exhibitions including the 2015 San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial, Puerto Rico; and the International Biennial Print Exhibition, Taipei, Taiwan. 


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