The Freelands Foundation has announced The Hepworth Wakefield as the fourth recipient of the annual £100,000 Freelands Award. The Yorkshire- based institution will be working with the Foundation to present a major survey exhibition of Hannah Starkey (b. Belfast, 1971) in 2020, which will also see the artist work closely with teenage girls from local communities to create a significant new body of work.
The total value of the award is £100,000
The Freelands Award was established in 2016 by Freelands Foundation, chaired by Elisabeth Murdoch, to enable a regional arts organisation to present a large-scale exhibition, including a significant new work, by a mid-career female artist who may not have yet received the acclaim or public recognition that her work deserves. The total value of the award is £100,000, including an artist fee of £25,000.
Starkey’s forthcoming exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield, running from 23 October 2020 to 24 January 2021, will be her first-ever major solo institutional exhibition, presenting a survey of Starkey’s art at a critical time in her career. Also, Starkey will create a new body of work exploring the shifting female identities within communities that were once sharply defined by coal mining and industrial manufacturing. The Hepworth Wakefield is a museum that specialises in commissioning and presenting contemporary female artists in dialogue with 20th- century modernism. The Hepworth is therefore particularly well placed to offer Starkey’s work to a broad audience and enrich the experience of it through the gallery’s art-historical and geographic context.
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: ‘We are delighted and honoured to have won the Freelands Award 2019 with photographer Hannah Starkey. Awards of this size are rare and so important in such an uncertain and challenging financial climate. It will allow us to present the first major survey of work by Starkey and to engage our diverse audience with a significant new commission to be created in Wakefield. Starkey’s emotionally evocative body of work created over the last twenty years, subtly explores how women are represented in contemporary culture and, more recently, their increasingly effective and powerful political activism that is fruitfully changing society and its entrenched attitudes. This long-overdue survey of Starkey’s work builds on The Hepworth’s reputation for curating important exhibitions of photographs and extends our commitment to regularly showing work by major female artists. This project comes at an exciting moment when Starkey is reassessing her art in the light of recent political events, such as the MeToo movement, that have such a vital bearing on her new work.’