Towner nominated for the Freelands Award 2021

Posted on 8/09/2021

We are delighted to be shortlisted by Freelands Foundation for the Freelands Award 2021 for our forthcoming solo exhibition with Emma Stibbon.

Six galleries, from Southend-on-Sea to Middlesbrough, are in contention for the prize of £100,000 to realise a significant solo exhibition by a mid-career female artist, including new work, with £25,000 allocated as a fee for the winning artist.

Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea, has been shortlisted for a 2022 exhibition by conceptual artist and activist Elsa James (b.1968, London). Exploring personal and historical identities of Black women in Essex , James’ recent projects Forgotten Black Essex (2018) and Black Girl Essex (2019) disrupt the much-maligned stereotypes of the county.

Hastings Contemporary plans the first UK retrospective by painter Caragh Thuring (b.1972, Belgium). Thuring’s delicate gestural compositions incorporate fragments of industrial features such as docksides and architectural towers. Her 2022–23 exhibition will coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Sussex gallery, which has championed painting by female artists over the last decade.

Leeds City Art Gallery is working with influential performance artist Rose English (b.1950, Hereford) towards her first solo show in a public museum in the UK. Best known for her highly choreographed live performances, her 2023 show will explore her ground-breaking early practice in Leeds in the 1970s, in which she eschewed conventional methods of display in favour of alternative spaces such as ice-rinks, fringe theatres, comedy clubs, and the circus.

MIMA, Middlesbrough, has invited artist Jacqueline Poncelet (b.1947, Belgium) to exhibit ceramics, sculpture, painting, textiles, and aspects of her large-scale architectural work in a survey of her 50-year practice that will take place in 2024. New commissioned works will engage with the manufacturing traditions of the region, which include making linen, rag-rugs, and steelwork.

Sheffield Museums will present a solo exhibition by Lubna Chowdhary (b.1964, Tanzania), who works primarily in ceramics to create site-specific architectural works, spatial installations and sculptural objects, which address geometry, abstraction, industry, and craft. Chowdhary will install works beyond the gallery space to engage the city’s residents in her ongoing preoccupation with urban and material cultures.

Towner Eastbourne is working with artist Emma Stibbon (b.1962, Germany) towards an exhibition in 2024 of a new body of ambitious immersive experiences, complemented by large-scale wall-based drawings, smaller framed works, and film pieces. Stibbon’s practice is deeply rooted in landscape, often depicting hostile and remote locations, including Polar regions, volcanoes and deserts, and coastal and urban sites, that signal a critically warming climate as they transform and degrade.

The winner will be announced in late November 2021 following selection by a jury including Elisabeth Murdoch (Founder and Chair, Freelands Foundation), artist Jacqueline Donachie (winner of the inaugural Freelands Award), Robert Leckie (Director, Spike Island Bristol), and Courtney J. Martin (Director, Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut).

The 2021 Award will be accompanied by the publication of the Freelands Foundation’s sixth report into ‘The Representation of Female Artists in the UK’. The report is written by Dr Kate McMillan and will include new data and essays exploring the intersectional impact of social class and racial background for female artists.

Further information about the award available here: