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'i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere' Still from video 2017. Sound by Nkisi

Jamila Johnson-Small wins Art Foundation Futures Award, Lawrence Lek and Alice Hiller also nominated for Awards

29 January 2019

Jamila Johnson-Small has been awarded a £10,000 Art Foundation Futures Award for Visual Arts and becomes an Art Foundation Fellow.

The Arts Foundation Futures Awards annually focus on five different areas within the Arts. Artists based in the UK are nominated by both practitioners and experts involved in the artform. Nominees must have at least three years post-educational work behind them. The finalists receive £1,000 each with one in each artform receiving the £10,000 fellowship.

We supported Jamilla through her collaboration Project O at Pacitti Company’s SPILL Festival and through the Jerwood Studio, Summer University at Sadler’s Wells.

Jamila Johnson-Small’s formal training is in dance and, since graduating in 2009, she has been finding ways to ‘upset’ this training as a statement about expectations of the performing body and its audience. With this approach, she presents work that acknowledges and mobilises the body as a site of politics, trying to destabilise and unsettle illusions of knowledge, achievement or development by incorporating work with forms in which she is an amateur.

Her work navigates states of overwhelm and alienation, utilising density and simultaneity to create environments, i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere (Fierce Festival, 2017) was the beginning of this practice of working with and through intensities: ‘a meditation on…the responsibilities of blackness and queerness, the pressure to ‘take space’, the feeling of being possessed by other people’s fantasies’.

Johnson-Small is interested in using the concept of a choreographic space to facilitate ‘immersive spaces of potential’ for both performer and spectator, considering it to be a certain kind of social space, for exchange and not-necessarily-verbal communication.

Two other Jerwood Arts alumni were nominated and received £1000 each: artist Lawrence Lek, who we supported through the Jerwood/FVU Awards and poet and curator Alice Hiller, who we supported through the Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring Scheme 2017/18.

Larence Lek was nominated for an Experimental Architecture Award, which aims to highlight experimental practices that explore radical constructions which challenge our conception of space as an interface. The Award was won by artist Holly Hendry. Alice Hiller was nominated for a Poetry Award which focuses on page poetry specifically. The Award was won by Will Harris.

www.artsfoundation.co.uk