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10/15/2021 17:31

Iwalewa Art Award: Award ceremony and exhibition opening on 21 October 2021

Christian Wißler Pressestelle
Universität Bayreuth

    Libyan artist and cultural manager Tewa Bernosa will be awarded the 2021 Iwalewa Art Award by the University of Bayreuth on 21 October 2021. The public is cordially invited to attend the award ceremony and the subsequent opening of the exhibition "Sacred and Cursed" with works by the award winner. This will be followed by a public dialogue between Tewa Bernosa and Libyan scholar Prof. Dr. Amal El-Obeidi on 22 October 2021. Participation in the events is free of charge.


    Thursday, 21 October 2021, at Iwalewahaus, Wölfelstr. 2, Bayreuth:
    6 to 7 pm: Award ceremony for Tewa Bernosa
    7 to 9 pm: Opening of the exhibition "Sacred and Cursed”
    Due to the pandemic, a maximum of 50 people will be admitted to the event. Registration by e-mail ( or by phone (0921 / 55-4500) is required. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing, or recovery must be presented at the entrance (3G requirement).
    The event will be broadcast as a live stream:

    Friday, 22 October 2021, from 6 pm at Iwalewahaus, Wölfelstr. 2, Bayreuth:
    Discussion between Tewa Bernosa and Libyan scholar Prof. Dr. Amal El-Obeidi (Bayreuth/Berlin) about the possibilities and functions of art in the context of Libya's social and political development. Registration by e-mail ( or by phone (0921 / 55-4500) is required. The 3G requirement also applies to this event.

    On the award winner:

    Tewa Barnosa was born in the Nafusa Mountains in Libya in 1998, grew up in the capital Tripoli, and currently lives in Berlin. Her artworks address definitions of identity and belonging, the uncertain future of languages, and collective memory in the social and political context of Libya and North Africa. Her artistic oeuvre includes paper-based works, installations, and collages as well as digital media for moving images and sound art.

    Tewa Barnosa went in search of clues in her home country of Libya, which has been suffering from a civil war that has lasted for two decades. On the walls of houses, often marked by war and violence, she discovered a range of graffiti that provides glimpses of the destruction of the country and the plight of the people. She has collected and archived many of these inscriptions in order to tie in her works with these testimonies from Libyan civil society.

    Her motto is: "A war that is not documented artistically is either forgotten or denied." Drawing on the collected material, Tewa Barnosa develops aesthetically pleasing collages. She uses her mother tongue Tifinagh, the language of the Berbers. In addition, she engraves light-coloured bricks ("white bricks") with calligraphically designed words and texts to give voice to the protest against the civil war and its authors. In this way, her work combines aesthetics and politics.

    Tewa Bernosa further developed this artistic approach during a residency at the Iwalewahaus. An intensive investigation of objects and documents in the archive of the Iwalewahaus provided her with new impulses. The exhibition "Sacred and Cursed", which opens on 21 October 2021, will present the works she created during this residency at the Iwalewahaus.

    Tewa Bernosa is the founder of the WaraQ Art Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to promoting artists in Libya and the Libyan diaspora abroad. One of the organisation's focal points is new initiatives that aim to bring the art scene and the public in Libya into dialogue with each other against the backdrop of the civil war.

    On the Iwalewa Art Award:

    The Iwalewa Art Award has been awarded by the University of Bayreuth to young African artists every two years since 2015. It is supported by an initiative of the International Office and the Iwalewahaus of the University of Bayreuth. The prize is linked to an artist residency at the Iwalewahaus and an exhibition sponsored by the International Office and the University of Bayreuth. Most recently, the 2019 Award was presented to Stacey Gillian Abe from Uganda. In the first call for entries in 2015, the award went to Angolan artist Délio Jasse, and in 2017 to Johannesburg-based Kitso Lynn Lelliott.

    Contact for scientific information:

    Inken Bößert
    Press and public relations
    University of Bayreuth
    Phone: +49 (0)921 55 4515

    Dr. Katharina Fink
    Deputy director Iwalewahaus
    Coordinator Programme, Teaching and Inclusion
    University of Bayreuth
    Phone: +49 (0)921 55 4505

    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists, Scientists and scholars, Students, Teachers and pupils, all interested persons
    Art / design, Cultural sciences
    transregional, national
    Contests / awards, Miscellaneous scientific news/publications

    Tewa Bernosa, winner of the Iwalewa Art Award 2021.

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