The seventh annual Freelands Award has been given to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. The prize enables the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to host the first UK museum show dedicated to the Tanzanian-born artist Everlyn Nicodemus, which is due to take place from September 2024 to May 2025.
The £110,000 award—£30,000 of which goes to the artist—is given to a UK arts organisation based outside London to present a major show, including significant new commissions by a mid-career woman artist whose “work may not have yet received the acclaim or public recognition that it deserves”, says a statement.
Richard Saltoun gallery in London represents Nicodemus; her work is “centred on personal and cultural trauma… while her research and curatorial interests focus on the history of Modern African art”, according to a gallery statement. John Leighton, the director-general of National Galleries of Scotland, says in a statement that the Nicodemus exhibition will span 40 years and include new works specially produced for the show.
Last year, works by Nicodemus were included in the 1:54 Contemporary African Art fair in London. “Although she has had a long career and been exhibited from Australia to her home country of Tanzania, she is a discovery for me. Her work is vivid but pensive. In The Omnipresent One (1986), a Madonna-like figure looms across the canvas, brightly clothed but bent in some unknown grief or sorrow,” wrote Chibundu Onuzo.
The other institutions on the award shortlist included Fruitmarket, Edinburgh (Zarina Bhimji); Turner Contemporary, Margate (Anya Gallaccio); John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (Permindar Kaur) and Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry (Katrina Palmer).
The Freelands Award judges include Melanie Keen, the director of the Wellcome Collection; the artist Veronica Ryan; Anthony Spira, the director of the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes; and Henry Ward, the director of the Freelands Foundation. The Freelands Foundation is a philanthropic organisation founded by the media entrepreneur Elisabeth Murdoch.