Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards Exhibition to Open at the National Museum of Wildlife Art
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Jackson, WY: The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) will open the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition on Saturday, November 4, 2023. The Mkapa Awards are presented in partnership with and traveled by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP). This is the second year of the prestigious photography awards, and the traveling exhibition includes 48 prints and three videos. The exhibition will be on view at NMWA through April 21, 2024.
Named after the late Tanzanian president H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, a dedicated conservationist, the Mkapa Awards feature 13 categories intended to capture beauty, uniqueness, and challenges facing African wildlife. Two categories are dedicated to youth: Youth in Africa and International Youth; others include Coexistence and Conflict, African Conservation Heroes, and Africa’s Backyard Wildlife. “Bringing Africa to the World, and the World to Africa” defines this global competition, geared towards developing multi-media platforms that engage and involve Africans and also those traveling to Africa in a blended narrative of conservation awareness and visual storytelling.
Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of AWF, was integral in the formation of the contest, and the structure allows for a diverse roster of entrants. “It was absolutely intentional,” Sebunya says. “The diversity is clear not only in the photos but in the photographers themselves. Our vision was to illustrate so many aspects of conservation and of Africa. We wanted to address all of the different issues that impact and support conservation on the continent.” Sebunya helped found the prestigious photography contest in partnership with NBP in 2021 with the ambitious goal of raising awareness about the importance of empowering Africans to take the lead in conservation. “To be sustainable, conservation must be led by Africans because we are the stewards of these resources,” says Sebunya. “These images and videos help start the conversation. They help define and refine Africa’s agenda for conservation and development.”
The vision of NMWA is to inspire connections with wildlife and nature. “The Mkapa Awards bring an inspiring set of works to the National Museum of Wildlife Art and will allow our visitors to form crucial connections with African wildlife and conservation,” says NMWA Museum Director Steve Seamons.
While the exhibition officially opens at NMWA on November 4, the public can enjoy early access at a free community exhibition opening event, “Perspectives Over Pizza + Pinot,” from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, November 3, 2023. This event celebrates the diversity of perspectives on offer through this exhibition, and is generously sponsored by a private donor. Museum members are also invited to an exclusive members-only meet and greet with Sebunya from 4-5 p.m. on November 3. Earlier in the week, Sebunya will be visiting local schools for special exhibition programming organized by the Museum.
The Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition is generously sponsored at NMWA by The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Adrienne & John Mars, Courtney & Chip Marvin, Lightner Sams Foundation, Sue Cedarholm & Kent Nelson, Annette & Noah Osnos, Lindy & Hanley Sayers, Singleton Peery Financial, and Jade & David Walsh.
ABOUT AFRICAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and their habitats as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 during the African independence movement in order to build our capacity to steward our natural resources, AWF articulates a uniquely African vision, bridging science, education, public policy, and field programs to demonstrate the benefits of conservation and build a future for Africa where people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.awf.org
ABOUT NATURE'S BEST PHOTOGRAPHY
Nature’s Best Photography was founded in 1995 to inspire, educate, and motivate a better understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the art of photography, storytelling, and personal wellness initiatives. This dynamic public engagement platform has produced award-winning publications, large-format print exhibitions, multimedia televised presentations, and prestigious museum events hosted around the globe. Learn more and support photographers and programs at www.naturesbestphotography.org
The National Museum of Wildlife Art, a nonprofit founded in 1987, is a world-class art museum holding more than 5,000 artworks representing wild animals from around the world. Featuring work by prominent artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon, and Carl Rungius, the museum’s unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 B.C.E. to the present. Built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge, the museum received the designation “National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States” by order of Congress in 2008. Boasting a museum shop, interactive children’s gallery, restaurant, and outdoor sculpture trail, the museum is only two-and-a-half miles north of Jackson Town Square, and two miles from the gateway of Grand Teton National Park.
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