The Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) has announced the 2019 recipients of Awards for Artists, one of the most significant philanthropic awards for visual artists and composers in the UK.
Launched in 1994, the awards support visual artists and composers with financial assistance at a pivotal moment in their careers. Since the inception of the awards, 175 artists have received a total of £7.2 million.
One thing hasn’t changed – the environment for artists is tough – Jane Hamlyn
Each award offers recipients £60,000 over three years – with no obligations or conditions as to how the money is used. Not only the most significant award of its kind in the UK, this ‘no strings attached’ approach sets the awards apart from other schemes by giving artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas and to further their personal and professional growth.
Initially, the awards were made to artists from different artforms each year. The first awards were made in 1994 to composers, followed by choreographers in 1995, visual artists (sculpture and installation) in 1996 and poets in 1997.
There has been a consistent focus on visual artists since 1998 and composers since 2007. Individuals are nominated by their peers, who are either artists or recognised professionals in the music or visual arts sectors. Each year, a panel of four new judges selects the recipients on the basis of talent, promise and need, as well as achievement. The awards might be made at any point in an artist’s career with no age restrictions unlike many other awards schemes; Gustav Metzger was 80 when he received the award in 2006.
Previous recipients include visual artists Yinka Shonibare (1998), Jeremy Deller (2001), Phyllida Barlow (2007), Ed Atkins (2012), Michael Dean (2014), Sonia Boyce (2016) and Charlotte Prodger (2017). Composers include Sally Beamish (1994), Janek Schaefer (2008), Tansy Davies (2009), Eliza Carthy (2012), Shabaka Hutchings (2014), Daniel Kidane (2016) and Serafina Steer (2017).
Jane Hamlyn, Chair, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Chair of the Visual Arts judging panel commented: “A lot has changed since we set up Awards for Artists 25 years ago, but one thing hasn’t changed – the environment for artists is tough. The PHF awards give exceptional artists and composers an invaluable space to concentrate on their work and imagine how it can find its place in the world.”
Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, said: “The visual artists and composers announced this year join a pool of exceptionally talented recipients that we have supported over the last 25 years. We are grateful for the contributions of all our nominators and judges who have helped shape the programme, and we intend for the awards to continue as an unequivocal commitment to the vital contribution artists and musicians make to our culture.”
2019 Visual Arts recipients:
Larry Achiampong combines imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity in his practice. Examining his communal and personal heritage, Achiampong investigates constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society.
Phoebe Boswell’s work is anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness. She combines traditional drawing with digital technology, creating compelling images, animations and immersive installations to find new languages to house and amplify voices and histories which, like her own, are often marginalised as ‘other’.
Adam Christensen is a multidisciplinary artist who makes performance, video, fabric and text works, blurring the boundaries between everyday life and fiction. Based on his immediate surroundings, recent experiences and acquaintances, he creates intimate works that explore the daily emotional dramas that we all take part in.
Harold Offeh works in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. Offeh often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture and is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history.
Ingrid Pollard is a photographer, media artist and researcher. She has developed a practice concerned with representation, history and landscape through a photographic background in theatre, cinema and narrative. Through interrogating the histories of photography and the materiality of lens-based media, Pollard refers to history, popular culture and Britishness.
2019 Composer recipients:
Eleanor Alberga incorporates a spectrum of genres into her work, from Eurocentric contemporary to Afro-Caribbean elements. The emotional range of her language and her structural clarity and technique as an orchestrator are renowned. Chamber music is a crucial feature of her work, but she revels in working with large vocal and orchestral forces.
Laura Jurd is a composer and trumpet player working in improvised and contemporary music. With a background in jazz and classical music, Jurd brings varied musical elements into the realm of the jazz ensemble in a way that is her own. She strives to create distinctive environments for improvisation, and her fascination with folk music is woven throughout her work.
Mark Lockheart holds improvisation at the heart of his compositional practice. He takes ideas that appear through the natural process of playing his primary instrument, the saxophone, and develops these into more substantial forms. He often uses existing material as inspiration. Taking fragments of music and manipulating and deconstructing the harmony, melody and rhythm, he then reconstructs them into new compositions.
Nathaniel Mann is an experimental composer, performer and sound designer. He takes on many roles in his practice, resisting established formats and frameworks for creating music. Mann’s compositions are grounded in research, context and collaboration, often developed with professionals and enthusiasts from varied fields and in response to specific settings. He is also a member of experimental trio Dead Rat Orchestra.
Shiori Usui’s works are inspired by human anatomy, its gestures and reflexes, and by other living creatures and ecologies. She draws from experiences which see the human body as an instrument – one of her works is based on the sound, action and damages caused by scratching skin, and another uses biophysical technology to capture the acoustics and data of musicians’ blood flow and muscle movements.
Paul Hamlyn established the Paul Hamlyn Foundation in 1987. Upon his death in 2001, he left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the most significant independent grants- making foundations in the UK. Our mission is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. We have a particular interest in supporting young people and a strong belief in the importance of the arts.
Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2019