Alberta Whittle wins 2018 Margaret Tait Award

Barbadian artist Alberta Whittle has been announced as the Margaret Tait Award winner in the centenary year of the Orcadian filmmaker’s birth

Article by Jamie Dunn | 27 Feb 2018
  • Margaret Tait Award 2018 winner: Alberta Whittle

Last night saw the world premiere of April, Sarah Forrest’s 2017 Margaret Tait Award commission. The event at Glasgow Film Festival also saw the baton being passed to Alberta Whittle, who was announced as this year’s winner.

“Alberta is at an earlier stage in her career than many former recipients, but the panel were impressed by the way that her practice offers up new ways of thinking about place, landscape, ownership and agency in Scotland and further afield,” said the Award panel in a statement. “All members of the panel are excited to see the work at Glasgow Film Festival 2019 and are thrilled to be able to offer this talented artist a new platform on the moving image arts scene in Scotland.”

For the uninitiated, the Margaret Tait Award, founded in 2010, supports experimental and innovative artists working with film and the moving image. It’s named in honour of Margaret Tait, the great Orcadian filmmaker and writer whose film poems, hand-painted animations and documentaries were pioneering in the field of experimental filmmaking. Born 1918, she would have been 100 this year.

'Bold and Radical Voice'

Based in Glasgow, Whittle's practice, which includes sculpture and performance as well as moving image, is described as being “motivated by the desire to work collectively towards radical self-love.” Nicole Yip, director of LUX Scotland, commented that “we are thrilled to be able to champion a bold and radical voice such as Alberta Whittle’s through this Award.” Yip added that Whittle’s “contribution has not only manifested visibly in a thoughtful body of work that explores urgent concerns around decolonisation, but also less visibly in her tireless commitment to community-building, artistic education, research and writing.”

Whittle herself said: “I am so excited by this opportunity to develop a new body of ambitious work. The award will allow me to bring together my research on authenticity, memory, history, loss and healing.”

Whittle’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including the Johannesburg Pavillion at the 56th Venice Biennale; Galerie de l’UQAM, Quebec; BOZAR, Belgium; Intermedia and David Dale Gallery, Glasgow; National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; VAN Lagos, Nigeria; and the Apartheid Museum, Goethe on Main and Constitution Hill, South Africa. This year, Whittle will also act as Associate Artist at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Glasgow and a Fellow at RAW Académie in Dakar, Senegal. She will be presenting her research at The Showroom in London as part of Holding Space in April 2018. She has also been a Committee Member of Transmission Gallery since 2016.

Whittle is the ninth winner of the award, and the moving image work she creates during the Margaret Tait residency will premiere at next year's Glasgow Film Festival.

Glasgow Film Festival runs until 4 Mar