Shortlist Announced for Visual Arts Award

  • An all-female line-up; Jamila Johnson-Small, Ima-Abasi Okon, Alice Theobald and Sung Tieu have been shortlisted for the £10,000 Arts Foundation Award for Visual Arts supported by the Yoma Sasburg Estate.

    Judges for this award were Helen Legg , Director of Tate Liverpool, artist Maciej Urbanek , and George Vasey , writer and currently curator at the Wellcome Collection. The four artists were selected from a longlist of UK-based practitioners nominated by experts and practitioners working across the visual arts.

    The decision to select a much broader genre this year was led by trustee Matthew Slotover who says; ‘Artists more and more are working across media and don’t fit into clear definitions like painters and sculptors. For this reason we decided to broaden the category to ‘Visual Arts’ rather than focusing on individual media.’

    The shortlist reflects this decision both in the range of practices and the issues explored by them; from Jamila Johnson-Small's” live practice where through personal narrative she highlights the problematics of globalisation, identity politics and displacement; to Alice Theobald (pictured above 'It’s not who you are, it’s how you are' BALTIC, 2016) whose multi-disciplinary practice often investigates the everyday revealing group dynamics and the intricacies of relationships between people; Ima-Abasi Okon who ‘repurposes’ industrial and personal objects by removing their function, raising questions relating to value, productivity and excess and Sung Tieu whose own emigration from Vietnam to Germany is central to her work impelling her to address Post-Cold War histories and the diasporic experience of unfixed temporal and spatial certainties.

    Judge for the award Helen Legg stated; ‘Having taken our time to narrow down an exceptionally talented field, we have arrived at four already remarkable artists, each at a critical point in the development of their work and each having demonstrated a vision that is worthy of the support and investment an Arts Foundation award offers. This exciting shortlist testifies to the immense ambition and promise of the next generation of artists in the UK’.