The African Art Space Project, has concluded plans to send work by an African artist into space in 2021 aboard an Ariane 5 satellite launcher.
This project was instigated by African Artists for Development (AAD), a philanthropic organization established in 2009 by the French collectors Matthias and Gervanne Leridon.
The space project is in partnership with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), Arianespace (the company which produces the Ariane 5), and the World Meteorological Organization
AAD appointed a selection committee to come up with a list of over 60 visual artists who have been invited to submit a proposal by mid-September 2019. The committee comprises the South African curator Melissa Goba, the Nigerian singer/songwriter Keziah Jones, the French/Rwandan writer Gaël Faye and the French/Ivorian Jean Philippe Aka, publisher of the African Art Market Report.
To be eligible for selection, the artist must have been born in Africa and be below 40 years of age. Equal gender representation is also emphasised.
Among the shortlisted artists are the South African photographers Mikhael Subotzky and Athi-Patra Ruga, the Nigerian-born, New York-based artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Zimbabwean-born, London-based artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Omar Victor Diop (Senegal), Gareth Nyandoro (Zimbabwe), Ephrem Solomon (Ethiopia) and Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire (Ghana).
. The winner will spend a three-month residency to release the piece next year at Eumetsat in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, Germany where the satellite is being constructed and prepared for launch. The piece will then be transferred over several months onto the nose of the Ariane 5.