The three ASAP programme finalists presented their projects on 27 November 2021 in Paris, France, to the members of an ASAP jury (see list below).
The jury unanimously decided to celebrate the union of the whole of Africa by proposing that the three artists work together to create a unique work of art that will bear witness to the collective power of the continent.
Jean-Michel Abimbola, Benin’s Minister of Culture and Arts and a member of the jury stated that by this decision: “Africa is putting forward a new paradigm based not on competition but on collaboration. By proposing to these three artists that they create this highly symbolic work, our continent is affirming a new axis of development based on the union of all.”
Jean-David Nkot, Michel Ekeba and Geraldine Tobé will be in residence from 3 January 2022 for two months to create a unique work of art, a fusion of their three creative universes. The work of Michel Ekeba, Jean-David Nkot and Geraldine Tobé will thus become the ambassador of an entire continent on planet Earth and in space.
This first African space, artistic and symbolic gesture will carry the hopes of transformation of the African continent and of the world through a work of art symbolising hope for all new generations.
In 2018, more than one hundred African artists under the age of 40 were invited to participate in the African Space Art Project. Fifty-one of them offered original creations expressing visions, hopes, dreams and fears, reflecting the complexity, the power and the richness of artistic creation and the future of their continent.
Their applications were studied by the ASAP Artistic Committee composed of Jean-Philippe Aka (Côte d’Ivoire), Gaël Faye (Rwanda), Melissa Goba (South Africa) and Keziah Jones (Nigeria).
On 4 March 2020, this committee selected three finalists: Michel EKEBA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Jean-David NKOT (Cameroon) et Geraldine TOBE (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Matthias and Gervanne Leridon, co-presidents of AAD said, “The joint work of Jean-David Nkot, Michel Ekeba and Geraldine Tobé that will accompany the launch of the new-generation satellite will be a symbol of the power of contemporary creation and the future of the continent. Europe and Africa will only build their future by realising that it can only be built deeply and concretely together. This project is a further step in this direction and reflects the role that the African continent will play in the global concert of humanity and creation in the 21st century.”
Phil Evans, Director-General of EUMETSAT stated: “Through the ASAP project, African artists will express the link between space, Africa and climate change. These three elements are at the heart of what we do every day at EUMETSAT, with our satellites that observe the planet and in cooperation with our partners in Africa. I am looking forward to discovering the original work that will be carried by the three artists selected.”
Stéphane Israël, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace stated: “The artistic project displayed on the Ariane 5 fairing that will accompany the launch of the MTG satellite for EUMETSAT in December 2022 highlights the cooperation between Europe and Africa and the need for more space for Africa. Arianespace is proud and honoured to be associated with this emblematic initiative for the African continent.”