Forget "world art" - African art is space-bound!

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“The Missellinius Mask Head”, John Goba, Sierra Leone

“The Missellinius Mask Head”, John Goba, Sierra Leone

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) today announced a competition for African artists which will see the winner’s creation gracing the launcher of a meteorological satellite in 2021.

The announcement was made at the official opening of " Lumi’res d’Afriques ", a unique exhibition of African art being staged at EUMETSAT’s Darmstadt headquarters during a six-week visit to Germany.

"The competition will be officially launched in September in Abidjan, at the 13th biennial EUMETSAT User Forum in Africa, in partnership with African Artists for Development," EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier said.

"What I can say now is that an image of the winner’s artwork will be featured on the fairing of the Ariane rocket which launches the first of our Meteosat Third Generation satellites."

EUMETSAT has a decades-long association with Africa, Ratier said.

"Accurate forecasts and warnings of severe weather are essential for the sustainable development of African nations in our changing climate, and EUMETSAT satellites play a key role," he said.

"Because they are located above the equator, our Meteosat satellites monitor climate and severe weather events over the full African continent"

"Because they are located above the equator, our Meteosat satellites monitor climate and severe weather events over the full African continent and even better than over Europe."

The data from EUMETSAT satellites are delivered in real time to African users and regular training courses ensure they can get the most out of this information. For more than 20 years, EUMETSAT has provided support to Africa and its meteorological community through EU-funded projects and initiatives.

This enables African decision makers to better protect their natural resources, farmers to plan their harvests, fisherman to safely find fishing zones, fires to be monitored, lives to be saved and infrastructure and assets to be protected.

"By hosting "Lumi’res d’Afriques" we are celebrating these links, Ratier said. "Through the competition we have announced, we acknowledge that these links and EUMETSAT’s support to sustainable development in Africa will continue in the decades to come, with the deployment of more capable satellites."

Lumi’res d’Afriques was commissioned by the endowment fund African Artists for Development. One artist from each of the 54 African countries was asked to create an artwork on the theme of "Enlightenment of Africa".

Internationally renowned artists such as Berry Bickle, Reheme Chachage, Naziha Arebi and Samson Kambalu, as well as young, emerging contemporary artists, present original works and share the conviction that Africa is the continent of tomorrow.

The works are the symbol of an alliance of progress between the world of African creation and global mobilisation to make the growth of Africa in the 21st Century sustainable growth without impacting on climate change.

About African Artists for Development

Created in 2009 by Gervanne and Matthias Leridon in order to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, the African Artists for Development (AAD) endowment fund is a philanthropic NGO which supports development projects in Africa associated with creations of contemporary African artists. This original approach has earned AAD recognition with the status of observer of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

AAD was created in response to a deep belief: the involvement of contemporary African artists alongside development project teams in Africa is one of the best levers of efficiency and success to build a sustainable future that creates meaning for the continent.

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