The African Space Projects will send work by an African artist into space in 2021 on the nose of an Ariane 5 rocket.
The African Artists for Development (AAD) – a philanthropic organization founded by French art collectors, Matthias, and Gervanne Leridon.
The organization initiated the project in partnership with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Arianespace, the makers of the rocket.
According to Matthias Leridon’s own words,
Africa is the continent that suffers the most from global warming but the one that produces the least CO2 so evidently the lowest contributor.Matthias Leridon
To that effect, a Eumetsat satellite carried into orbit by the Ariane 5 launcher – will observe the continent and gather meteorological data about how Africa is being affected by global warming.
Some African art will accompany the space ship on its mission and the data collected will be shared with countries on the continent to help improve sustainable development and agricultural policy decision-making.
The AAD has opened a committee to call on inviting more than 60 visual artists to submit proposals by September 2019. This committee includes South African curator, Melissa Goba, Nigerian singer, Keziah Jones, French/Rwandan writer, Gaël Faye and the publisher of the African Art Market Report, Jean Phillippe.
Among the shortlisted artists is Nigerian Ruby Onyinyechi, along with South African photographers, Mikhael Subotzky and Athi-Patra Ruga, Zimbabwean Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Senegalese Omar Victor Diop, Zimbabwean Gareth Nyandoro, Ethiopian Ephrem Solomon and Ghanian Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire.