Prizes & awards
Northern Art Prize
Established in 2007 the annual Northern Art Prize offers four short-listed artists a prominent exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery and opportunity to win a £16,500 award.
Established in 2007, the Northern Art Prize aims to highlight the diverse and rich seam of artists working in the North East, North West and Yorkshire. Fast gaining a reputation as the 'Turner Prize of the North', the prize exhibition features four shortlisted artists, selected by nomination, and offers the winner an award of £16,500.
Artist and Director Pippa Hale set up the prize with the intention of celebrating the wealth of talent and nurturing future generations of practitioners: “In the North we are lucky to boast a strong heritage of influential artists including Henry Moore, Terry Frost and Barbara Hepworth … We want to temper the flow of new graduates to London by harnessing their skills and energies here, raising their profile as well as that of the arts scene in our region, ensuring a thriving cultural community that will benefit everyone.”
Unlike the Turner Prize, the Northern Art Prize is open to artists of any age and as such is able to reward artists at any stage of their career. Nominators, who range from curators of public galleries and museums to directors of artist-led spaces and independent curators, put forward two artists to a selection panel drawn from the national visual arts sector. The panel, which changes every year, then select four artists to show in a group exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery. After viewing the exhibition, the selection panel reconvenes to choose the winning artist who is awarded £16,500, with the runners-up receiving £1,500 each.
In 2011 Sarah Brown, Curator of Exhibitions at Leeds Art Gallery, chaired the panel of four judges: Caroline Douglas (Head of the Arts Council Collection), Tim Marlow (Writer, Broadcaster, Art Historian and Director of Exhibitions at White Cube), Simon Starling (Turner Prize winning artist) and Simon Wallis, (Director at The Hepworth Wakefield).
The exhibition of short-listed artists
The Prize exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery presents the short-listed artists. For the 2011 exhibition, Liadin Cooke, Leo Fitzmaurice, James Hugonin and Richard Rigg were selected by the panel from a long-list of twenty-three artists.
The process of nomination is transparent with nominators named alongside their selected artist and a programme of artist/nominator talks. The 2011 artists were nominated by Alex Hodby (Independent curator, Researcher and Arts administrator), Kate Farrell (Curator - Special Exhibitions, The Lowry), Matthew Hearn (Writer and Curator), Emily Marsden (Curator, Hatton Gallery) respectively.
The winner 2011
Leo Fitzmaurice was the winner of the 2011 Northern Art Prize. Nominated by Kate Farrell, (Curator - Special Exhibitions at The Lowry) Fitzmaurice makes work which is 'characterised by a desire to reorganise the everyday and familiar'. In choosing him as the winner, the judges commented: "Leo's work is ambitious, risky and compelling. Drawing upon historical resources and current mobile phone technology, he provides a fresh perspective on the traditional subject of landscape whilst at the same time pushing boundaries of his own practice". Speaking to a-n just after the prizewinner announcement, Pippa Hale, Director of the Northern Art Prize commented that Leo was a 'deserving winner' who has "been integral to building an infrastructure for artists in Liverpool".
Fitzmaurice's winning exhibition consisted of a selection of 19th and early 20th century landscape paintings from the Leeds Gallery collection to create Horizon, by positioning the paintings so that the horizon line ran through one frame to the next; and The Way Things Appear, an informal slide show of images collected via the artist's mobile phone. In an interview with a-n, he said he intended to spend the £16,500 prize money on "time", allowing himself to make new works.
Previous winners of the prize include Sheffield-based Haroon Mirza, Prague-born, Manchester-based Pavel Bϋchler, Liverpool-born Paul Rooney and Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope, founders of multi-disciplinary group ‘Somewhere’.
First published: a-n.co.uk January 2011 updated January 2012
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