Henry Moore Foundation has awarded £60,000 to 40 artists across the UK in response to pressures brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its new Artist Award Scheme will offer funding and resources to the ‘future of sculpture’, assisting artists at a time when other sources of income might no longer be available.

The fund is unrestricted, allowing artists the flexibility to use funds however they need to, whether that’s paying studio rent, buying materials or reimbursing the funds for work lost.

Amongst the recipients are a-n Artists Council member Jasleen Kaur, an artist based in London whose practice examines the hierarchy of histories and labour using a range of mediums including sculpture, video, conversation and cooking. Recent commissions include BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow Women’s Library, Eastside Projects and Hollybush Gardens.

Commenting on the importance of the award, Kaur said: “Coming out of maternity leave into a pandemic has meant little headspace for creative thinking or strategising for the future. This award helps me carve out time and space to tend to my practice or funds to work collaboratively in a time of isolation.”

In addition, fellow a-n Artists Council member Hetain Patel has also received an award. He is an artist who makes photographs, videos, sculptures and live performances that connect marginalised identities with the mainstream in an effort to destabilise notions of authenticity and promote personal freedom. Patel is Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Artist, patron of QUAD, Derby and Visiting Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.

The full list of artists (excluding those who wish to remain anonymous) are: Aaron McPeake, Alberta Whittle, Alex Frost, Alexander Duncan, Anna Berry, Anne Vibeke Mou, Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, Ashley Holmes, Becky Beasley, Charlotte Dawson, David Kefford, Dominique White, Emily Hesse, Flora Parrott, Hetain Patel, James Clarkson, Jasleen Kaur, Jill McKnight, Joanne Masding, Kathryn Ashill, Katie Schwab, Leo Fitzmaurice, Liam Fallon, Lilah Fowler, Lindsey Mendick, Louise Barrington, Madeleine Pledge, Nick Gordon, Nicola Ellis, Phoebe Collings-James, Rachal Bradley, Simeon Barclay and Stuart Whipps.

Artists were nominated from a panel of 20 prominent figures in the sector including Beth Bate, Director at Dundee Contemporary Arts; Jo Verrent, Senior Producer at Unlimited; and Zoe Whitley, Director at Chisenhale Gallery, London.

Explaining the reasons for launching the awards, Godfrey Worsdale, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation, said: “This is an incredibly difficult moment for the arts and especially so for many artists who lost much of their income-earning work almost immediately. Sadly, we will see the impact of the pandemic on our industry for a long time to come.

“Henry Moore himself benefitted from an ex-serviceman’s grant after he fought in World War 1, which enabled him to study sculpture at Leeds College of Art. With this in mind, the Foundation wanted to offer timely support and give artists across the country some much-needed assistance.”

Henry Moore Grants awards £500,000 annually and in doing so seeks to continue Moore’s legacy by supporting sculpture across historical, modern and contemporary registers and funding research that expands the appreciation of sculpture. Applications are assessed four times during the year by the Grants Committee.

1. Jasleen Kaur, He walked like he owned himself, 2018, tracksuit with deconstructed Sikh Khanda on embroidered stripe. Photo: Malcolm Cochrane
2. Hetain Patel, Plastic Dreams – Ironhide, 2020, plastic Transformer figure, acrylic paint. Image courtesy the artist