The recipients of the Artsadmin Artists’ Bursary award for 2020-21 have been announced, with five artists receiving a support package of a cash award of £4,000.

In addition, the recipients will receive a £300 mentoring budget to work with another artist, a critical thinker or dramaturg, plus a £200 budget to go and see work, a £200 budget for well-being, and a week-long studio residency and invitation to present work at Toynbee Studios, London.

The recipients are: Elsabet Yonas, Hetal Chudasama, James Jordan Johnson, Krishna Istha and Tammy Reynolds.

They will also be invited to take part in the hotdesking scheme in the Artsadmin office at Toynbee Studios and receive advocacy and marketing support, and support for access requirements and travel expenses.

Elsabet Yonas’s work is rooted in storytelling and documentation, driven by social change and art healing communities. She commented: “I am beyond grateful to receive this bursary. I value this support and intend on using the opportunity to further my career. My time will be spent developing my artistic practice through collaboration and the development of a new work.”

Hetal Chudasama is an Indian artist who lives and works in Sevenoaks, Kent. Her practice is directed towards studying environments in which racialised human consciousness is set up conflict and resolution.

Explaining the impact of the bursary, she said: “It is a great privilege to have been chosen as a bursary recipient for 2020-2021. The privilege is even more marked given the horrors artists must now navigate in the context of coronavirus. ‘Where do we go from here’ is the central haunting question faced by so many people around the world. I shall approach this new traumatic zone as an opportunity for further creative exploration and study.”

Explaining her reaction to receiving the bursary, multidisciplinary artist and producer Tammy Reynolds said: “I spent the day walking around the house screaming out validation and relief. I scared the postman and set the dog off barking next door. I also made three pieces of art. Not only will this bursary support me, it will motivate me. My artist bio may look a lil’ different next year.”

London-based writer, comedian, live artist and theatre maker Krishna Istha’s performance work looks at transformations (physical, political, collaborative), gender politics and queer culture using subversive text and comedy.

They commented: “It’s a really important time right now as a freelance artist to have institutional support and I am so honoured and grateful to be receiving the Artsadmin Bursary this year. As part of the Bursary, I will be taking time to think about what my work can look like in the next few years as I know this pandemic will greatly change and influence the creation of live performances in the future.”

James Jordan Johnson is an artist working in live art who employs live art methodology to discuss collective and individual memory. He will use the bursary to create a new piece of performance work with artist and mentor Jade Blackstock. He said: “The bursary will constitute the grounds of inquiring into the relationship between performance and anthropology as I intend to explore if and how feet can physiologically store personal memories. This will include continuing to further my use and exploration of objects and materials via both performance and sculpture as I look into Afro-Caribbean ritualism and ceremonies.”

Following a UK-wide open call 510 applications were made to the scheme. The winners were chosen by a panel that included Artadmin staff Reena Kalsi, Michael Norton, Cat Harrison, Róise Goan, with input from Ania Obolewicz; and external panellists Salome Wagaine, Project Manager of Diverse Actions; Alexandrina Hemsley, a dance artist and writer; and Noëmi Lakmaier, a live artist.

Róise Goan, Artistic Director, and Deborah Chadbourn, Executive Director, Artsadmin, commented: “In an extremely competitive context, our panel spent a long time deliberating on where our support could have the greatest impact. In their work these five exceptional artists each demonstrate a bold curiosity in their approach to form, and a tender sensitivity to questions of identity and community. We are excited to see their practice evolve over the coming year and greatly look forward to being of assistance throughout that process.”

Salome Wagaine, Diverse Actions, Project Manager, added: “The applications overall represented the breadth, ambition and variety of contemporary and interdisciplinary performance around in the UK at the moment and I felt lucky to have read them. I hope that they have a good year!”

Artsadmin’s Bursary is made possible with support from Arts Council England and Live Art UK’s Diverse Actions programme.

1. Elsabet Yonas.
2. Hetal Chudasama.
3. Tammy Reynolds. Photo: Brian Robe
4. Krishna Istha. Photo: Holly Revell
5. James Jordan Johnson.

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