The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has announced the recipients of the 22nd annual Awards for Artists, the largest individual awards made to visual artists and composers in the UK.
The eight recipients for 2016 are:
Visual Arts Award:, Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson, Sonia Boyce, Rachel Reupke, Lucy Skaer, and Cara Tolmie. Composers Award: Daniel Kidane, Heather Leigh and Ailís Ní Ríain, The recipients of Awards for Artists 2016 were announced by Jane Hamlyn, Chair of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, at a reception hosted at the Foundation’s offices in London, with a keynote speech given by filmmaker, opera director, and screenwriter Penny Woolcock.
Launched in 1994, Awards for Artists supports visual artists and composers with financial assistance at a pivotal moment in their careers. The awards can be made at any point in an artist’s career, with no age restrictions, but the judging panel is always asked to consider an artist’s work to date and their potential for future development.
At £50,000 for each artist and composer with no strings attached, the awards are amongst the most generous in the UK and are designed to give artists the time and freedom to develop their creative ideas.
Jane Hamlyn said: “I am delighted to announce the recipients of Awards for Artists 2016, who represent an exceptional cohort. The artistic talent represented by this year’s recipients is particularly wide-ranging and reflects the diversity of practice amongst artists in the UK.”
Commenting on the awards scheme, Penny Woolcock said: “A world without art is literally impossible to imagine. It’s how we save ourselves when there’s no other way out.”
Since their inception, the awards have benefited over 140 artists. Previous recipients include artists Yinka Shonibare (1998), Jeremy Deller (2001), Phyllida Barlow (2007), Duncan Campbell (2008), Ed Atkins (2012) and Bonnie Camplin (2014), and composers Sally Beamish (1994), Simon Holt (1994), Tansy Davies (2009), Anna Meredith (2010), Eliza Carthy (2012), Shabaka Hutchings (2014) and Brian Irvine (2015).
Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, commented: “Supporting people to realise their full potential is at the heart of the Foundation’s mission. Our experience is that backing individuals can deliver unimaginable benefit and impact and that’s what Awards for Artists is all about. There are no demands made, no strings attached, giving recipients the freedom to use the money as they wish to develop and sustain their creativity”
2016 Visual Arts Award recipients:
Lucy Beech and Edward Thomasson (born 1985 & 1985) have collaborated on performance projects since 2007. Their work is characterised by choreographed group activities that look at how movement is used when language fails or seems hard to summon. At the centre of their work is an exploration of how performance is initiated in non-theatrical environments as a tool for working through everyday emotional and occupational problems and experiences. Their most recent performance Public Relations (2016) was staged at Maureen Paley, London and Site Galley in Sheffield.
Sonia Boyce (born 1962) emerged as one of the leading figures in the Black-British arts scene in the 1980s. Working across several mediums, the heart of her recent work raises questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures through improvised performances. In 2007, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Art, and in 2016 she became a Royal Academician.
Rachel Reupke (born 1971) is a filmmaker exploring the complexities of interpersonal communication. Her work often draws upon influences from the advertising industry. Two recent films, Deportment (2011) and Wine & Spirits (2013), used vignettes from alcohol advertising as a starting point to examine social rituals surrounding male-female relationships. Recently, her work has focused on the craft and affect of complaint letters and their corresponding apologies.
A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Lucy Skaer (born 1975) uses image, sculpture, and film to explore the limits of image-making and how objects affect and are affected by the spaces in which they are situated. In 2009, her sculptures Black Alphabet and Leviathan Edge were nominated for the Turner Prize. She has an upcoming exhibition, in collaboration with Rosalind Nashashibi, at Tate St Ives in 2018, and a solo show at Kunstwerke in Berlin in 2017.
London-based artist Cara Tolmie (born 1984) works from within the intersections of performance, music and moving image. Her works probe the site-specific conditions of performance-making. Tolmie does this by finding ways to vocalise and place her body in ways that access the political and poetic capabilities of physical, written and musical languages. Recent performances, such as Till It Feels Alright (2015) and Incongruous Diva (2016) look at the affective economies that attach themselves to the role of ‘The Singer’. She has been commissioned to make a new performance for Block Universe Festival, 2017 in London and will publish her first solo vinyl project Incongruous Diva with a (“uh”) books in Winter 2016.
2016 Composers Award recipients:
Daniel Kidane (born 1986) is a leading young concert composer from London, whose work ranges from solo pieces to large orchestral works. His work focuses on themes of multicultural and multi-linguistic exchanges and how these shape our daily interactions. Among Kidane’s most notable compositions are Foreign Tongues (2015), which re-envisaged the setup of the string quartet, and Pulsing (2016), which explored the idea of migration through it energetic instrumental passages and vocal interludes.
Heather Leigh (born 1976) is a West Virginian, Texas raised composer and singer, based in Glasgow. She is renowned for her spontaneous composition and for redefining the pedal steel guitar. As a solo artist, she explores themes relating to the representation of women, sexuality, and vulnerability, as showcased on her internationally acclaimed album, I Abused Animal (2015). She has an extensive catalogue of collaborative work, which in recent years has focused on her duo with German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann as heard on their album, Ears Are Filled With Wonder (2016).
Ailís Ní Ríain (born 1974) is a contemporary classical composer and published stage writer currently based in Yorkshire. From acoustic composition to music installations and music-theatre, her work aims to challenge, provoke and engage with new audiences in diverse spaces. Among Ní Ríain’s most recent compositions is Skloniŝte (2015), a solo accordion and video homage to the people who survived the Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996. She has also completed notable commissions for the Royal Irish Academy of Music, The Bronte Society and Feelgood Productions with new commissions lined up for Spitalfields Festival and Manchester Opera Project.