The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2023: Claudette Johnson Welcome Address

The esteemed visual artist Claudette Johnson’s welcome address at The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2023 was such an extraordinary gift. 

The honest truths Claudette shared about the challenges and rewards of pursuing an artistic practice and the importance of family, friends, peers and community in sustaining one, resonated and reverberated in the room on the night.

We are honoured to share Claudette’s words of wisdom, vulnerability and power.

The Award Ceremony was held at the Howard Assembly Room, Opera North on 23 February 2023 and was presented in partnership with Leeds 2023:Year of Culture.

Find out more about the Arts Foundation and consider becoming a Friend to directly support the livelihoods and future generations of artists and creatives in what continues to be an incredibly precarious time for so many. All donations go straight to artists as part of our Arts Foundation Futures Awards Fellowship Scheme.

About Claudette Johnson

Claudette Johnson MBE (b. 1959, Manchester, UK) started her career as part of the newly formed BLK Art Group, which she joined in 1981 while she was a student at Wolverhampton University. In the 1980s Johnson showed her work in a number of significant shows including Five Black Women, Africa Centre, London, (1983); Black Women Time Now, Battersea Arts Centre, London, (1984); The Thin Black Line, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, (1985), and In This Skin: Drawings by Claudette Johnson, Black Art Gallery, London, (1992).

In March 2023, Johnson opened her first solo exhibition in the US at Ortuzar Projects, New York.

Recent solo exhibitions include Still Here, Hollybush Gardens, London (2021); Claudette Johnson: I Came to Dance, Modern Art Oxford, (2019), and Claudette Johnson, Hollybush Gardens, London, (2017). Her work is held in numerous public collections, including Tate, British Council Collection, Arts Council Collection, Manchester Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Rugby Museum, and Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.