Everlyn Nicodemus and National Galleries of Scotland Win 7th Freelands Award

The Award enables a UK arts institution to present a solo exhibition by a woman artist who may not have received the recognition it deserves.

Everlyn Nicodemus. Photo by Joyce Marshall; Scottish National Gallery Modern One. Photo by Keith Hunter

Everlyn Nicodemus. Photo by Joyce Marshall; Scottish National Gallery Modern One. Photo by Keith Hunter

Freelands Foundation today announces that artist Everlyn Nicodemus (b. 1954, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania) and National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh have won the seventh annual Freelands Award.

Founded in 2015, the Freelands Award is an annual £110,000 prize enabling a UK public arts institution to present a solo exhibition, including new work, by a mid-career woman artist whose work may not have previously received the recognition it deserves.

Also shortlisted for this year’s award were Fruitmarket (Edinburgh) with Zarina Bhimji, Turner Contemporary (Margate) with Anya Gallaccio, John Hansard Gallery (Southampton) with Permindar Kaur and Warwick Arts Centre (Coventry) with Katrina Palmer.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will present Nicodemus’ first UK museum show from September 2024 to May 2025 in Edinburgh, where the artist has been based for fifteen years. Since the 1980s, Nicodemus has made cycles of paintings, collages and works on paper that explore violence against women, personal trauma and the isolation and dehumanisation of living within structural racism. Over the next two years, she will create a new series of large-scale oil paintings at her studio to be exhibited alongside historic works.

Everlyn Nicodemus said: “I am honoured to be given the opportunity to show my work at the National Galleries of Scotland, in what will be my first museum show in the United Kingdom. I moved from Tanzania to Sweden at the age of nineteen, lived and worked in France, was a guest student at Hochshule der Künste in Berlin, then spent twenty years living in Belgium, but Scotland is the first place that has truly felt safe and made me feel at home. I have now lived and worked in Edinburgh for fifteen years, and yet have never had an exhibition here, so I am grateful to the Freelands Foundation for this recognition of my practice and the decades I have committed to my work as an artist. It is wonderful to be part of this shortlist of talented and inspiring artist nominees. To be recognised amongst my fellow women artists, when my work has for such a long time championed the under-recognised voices of marginalised women globally, is very meaningful.”

Sir John Leighton, Director-General of National Galleries of Scotland, said: “The National Galleries of Scotland is delighted to be awarded the Freelands Award 2022 in support of a major retrospective of Tanzanian-born, Edinburgh-based artist Everlyn Nicodemus. Nicodemus’ extraordinary body of work has rarely been seen in the UK, and with growing interest in her practice globally, this will mark her first exhibition in Scotland. This extensive exhibition will span forty years of practice and include new works specially produced for the show. The Freelands Foundation’s support for women artists aligns with our priority to amplify artists whose work has been historically overlooked. In this major show we aim to tell stories beyond the established art historical canon. Everlyn is a remarkable artist with an inspiring biography, and a conviction in the power of art as ‘universal communication between people.’ We look forward to sharing her artworks and ideas with our visitors.”

The Freelands Award 2022 was judged by a panel comprising Melanie Keen (Director, Wellcome Collection), artist Veronica Ryan (winner of the Freelands Award 2018 and Turner Prize 2022 nominee), Anthony Spira (Director, MK Gallery) and Henry Ward (Director, Freelands Foundation).



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