LUX Scotland has announced Glasgow based artist Andrew Black as the 12th recipient of the £15,000 Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists.

Each year, the award is presented to an artist based in Scotland who has established a significant body of work over the past 5–10 years and is recognised by peers for their contribution to the artists’ moving image sector. The winner must also demonstrate the significant impact that the award will have on the development of their practice.

Black will receive a solo show at LUX in London as well as a touring show in Scotland and a bursary to make the new work.

His proposed work, The Besom, will draw on local-history research practices and experimental production processes to explore strange synchronicities and uncanny presences in a depopulated upland landscape. Black will refer to conventions of topographical and fantasy writing, to explore ‘possible unactivated potentialities foreclosed by the advances of different phases of Capitalism, and the strange synchronicities which connect to other, anxious narratives of surveillance and control’.

The production will explore video-communication technology’s potential for enabling improvisation, collaboration and archiving, whilst also addressing the timely concern of how our bodies, memories and experiences are mediated by digital technology.

Explaining his proposal, Black said: “I tried to propose a project that can work imaginatively with the limitations of our present situation and create the circumstances for exchange and improvisation. It’s a project I’ve wanted to make for a long time, and it seemed to offer an opportunity to explore some of the anxieties and complexities of the current moment, so I’m excited to see where it will lead once we get started. I’m extremely grateful to those who nominated me, to LUX Scotland, Glasgow Film and Screen Scotland, and most of all to my friends and peers, who constitute the creative community I have benefitted from so much.”

The 2021 Margaret Tait Award panel included: Alberta Whittle (2018 Margaret Tait Award recipient); Kim McAleese (Programme Director, Grand Union, Birmingham); Tina Fiske (Director, CAMPLE LINE, Dumfriesshire); Thomas Abercromby (artist and curator); Sean Greenhorn (Screen Scotland); and Kitty Anderson (Director, LUX Scotland, panel chair).

Anderson said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Andrew over the coming year to realise his proposal, and to premiere the new work as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2022. This year’s shortlist – Andrew Black, Christian Noelle Charles, Winnie Herbstein, Mathew Wayne Parkin and Tako Taal – was truly outstanding, and it was a real privilege to be able to spend time with each of the artist’s work. My thanks go to all five shortlisted artists for their excellent proposals, and to all the artists that submitted their work for consideration.”

Previous Margaret Tait Award recipients include Emilia Beatriz; Jamie Crewe; Alberta Whittle; Sarah Forrest; Duncan Marquiss; Charlotte Prodger; Rachel Maclean; Stephen Sutcliffe; Anne-Marie Copestake; and Torsten Lauschmann.

1. Andrew Black. Photo: Erika Stevenson