Paul Hamlyn Foundation has announced the largest ever awards made to individual visual artists in the UK, with five artists each receiving £60,000 in prize money.

The five winning artists are: Steven Claydon, Peter Kennard, Linder, Charlotte Prodger and Rehana Zaman. In addition, five composers also received awards. They are: Laurence Crane, Mary Hampton, Leafcutter John, Serafina Steer and Byron Wallen.

The Awards for Artists 2017 were announced by Jane Hamlyn, chair of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and Jarvis Cocker at a reception hosted at the foundation’s offices in London on Thursday 9 November. Originally launched in 1994, the awards support visual artists and composers at a pivotal moment in their careers, irrespective of age.

London-based artist Steven Claydon, who works across sculpture, video, performance and painting, said: “This award could not have come at a better time. I’m incredibly grateful both to whoever nominated me and to the judges. I feel a great sense of relief and release – in a word, unburdened.”

Peter Kennard is known for working with photomontage, exploring political themes including economic inequality, war, climate change and the erasure of civil rights. He said that the money would allow him to experiment “without compromise for three years”.

Linder, who has been working with collage for over four decades and is currently the first ever artist in residence at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, said: “This generous award will usher in larger scale creative possibilities, some of which have been patiently waiting for decades to be realised.”

Glasgow-based Charlotte Prodger works with moving image, writing and performance and was the artist in residence at September’s Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival. She said the award will allow her “to take some risks and to develop open ended methods of research, collaboration and experimentation beyond the in-and-out constraints of project by project funding.”

Rehana Zaman, a founding member of the Women of Colour Index Reading Group, lives in London and is concerned with the effect of multiple social dynamics on how individuals and groups relate.

She explained that the award would allow her to maintain her practice at a critical moment, commenting: “I’m acutely aware of how structural pressures and a lack of support have resulted in the exclusion, disappearance and obscuring of a great deal of critical work by women artists.”

Jane Hamlyn said: “Artists and composers are incredibly resourceful individuals – and they have to be. It’s not easy making ends meet whilst finding time to reflect and experiment. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation awards gives exceptional individuals the time and space they need.”

The judges for this year’s visual arts awards were Hamlyn (chair) along with Sonia Boyce (2016 recipient), Lizzie Carey-Thomas (head of programmes, Serpentine Galleries), Nicholas Cullinan (director, National Portrait Gallery), and Simon Morrissey (director, Foreground Projects).

Over the last 23 years, the Awards for Artists has benefited over 150 artists with funds of over £6m. The amount of each individual award has also increased by £10,000 from £50,000 in previous years, in acknowledgement of the increasing costs of living in the UK. The overall value of Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s financial commitment has risen from £400,000 per annum to £600,000.

Previous recipients of the awards include: Yinka Shonibare (1998), Jeremy Deller (2001), Tomma Abts (2004), Phyllida Barlow (2007), Ed Atkins (2012), Emma Hart (2015) and Lucy Skaer (2016).

1. Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists 2017 group shot. Photo: Emile Holba Photo: Emile Holba
2. Charlotte Prodger, Northern Dancer, installation view, 2015. Photo: John McKenzie. Image courtesy of the artist, Hollybush Gardens and Koppe Astner.

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