Three years ago, at the suggestion of Kenyan teachers, a UK education charity — Mask School for Creativity and Innovation — established a national creativity competition.
Themed 'Young People - The Creative Nation', the Mask Prize builds national awareness of innovation amongst young Kenyans. It provides a platform to practise and share their innovation and creativity with other young people in Kenya and the West.
The winning artworks are then exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London and Library of Congress in Washington DC.
This year's winners were announced on Tuesday afternoon at the Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom House, in Nairobi.
The young artists walked away with prizes totalling around Sh300,000, donated by Rivers Foundation (UK) and Ann Brenner (USA).
The school prize was this year won by six schools: Naivasha Unity Primary School (Naivasha), Anidan Children's Home (Lamu) and Nairobi's Cogri Art Club, NPG Academies Primary School, Riara Primary School and Riara Spring Primary School.
The 'Under 13' category prize went to Alan Kiptoo, four, from Iten; Fahima Munene, 12, from Lamu; Hannah Gathoni, 11, from Nairobi; and Shela Foster, nine, from Nairobi.
The visual category was won by: First Prize, Paula Karanja, 20, Nairobi; Second Prize, Churchill Ongere, 23, Kisumu; Third Prize: Richard Kuria, 22, Bungoma; Fourth Prize, Edwin Wainaina, 18, Nairobi; Fifth Prize, Paul Kidero, 19, Nairobi; Sixth Prize, Samson Lazima Jali, 18, and Louis Tamlyn, 19, Nairobi.
The music prize went to Hanna Nebiyu, 16, and Crew Teflon, both from Nairobi.
The winners were awarded by leading Kenyan artists Peterson Kamwathi and Cyrus Kabiru and musician Winyo, director of Kenyan Cultural Music Institute.
The Star is the Mask Prize competition official media partner.
About Mask Prize
The Mask Prize is not an 'art' competition. Creativity is more than art. It encompass all aspects of life, science, culture and business. Young people are invited to submit innovative artworks in any media on any subject that reflect good ideas or solutions that can bring change. Ibrahim El-Salahi, one of Africa’s leading artists, said at the opening of the Mask Prize in 2014: "The Mask Prize gives children their humanity back."
Why is such creativity competition important? Opening the 2014 Mask Prize in Nairobi last May, leading African industrialist Dr Manu Chandaria said that "survival in the 21st century will be very difficult and without creativity it is not possible."
For the last eight years, Mask has been training young people in Kenyan schools how to be more creative and innovative. Mask students become successful professionals, effective entrepreneurs and leaders.
The importance of creativity training was well captured in a landmark report of the US President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities 'Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools' (2012) which showed a strong link between art education and child's achievement in adult life. Children who are educated in schools with meaningful art training become much more successful in their adult lives.
For more information about the Mask Prize, contact the organisers on [email protected]
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