Andrew Black announced as winner of 2021 Margaret Tait Award

2021 Margaret Tait Award winner Andrew Black / credit: Erika Stevenson

The Glasgow artist will create a new work with support from the prestigious moving image prize

Andrew Black has been announced as this year's recipient of the Margaret Tait Award. The annual prize – widely considered one of Scotland's most eminent visual art accolades – celebrates artists working in the medium of moving image, and endows its recipient with a £15,000 bursary to create new work. Black, who is based in Glasgow, won for his proposal for a project titled The Besom, which will combine experimental production processes with local historical research to highlight 'strange synchronicities and uncanny presences in a depopulated upland landscape'.

Named in honour of the trailblazing Orcadian filmmaker and poet, the Margaret Tait Award has supported the development of many of Scotland's most innovative artists since its establishment in 2010, including Turner Prize winner Charlotte Prodger; 2020 Turner Prize bursary winner Alberta Whittle; and Rachel Maclean, who represented Scotland + Venice at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Andrew Black, Eternity Knocker, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Now joining their ranks is Black, who has lived in Glasgow since 2009 and whose CV includes residencies at Cove Park and Hospitalfield. His current projects include a collaboration with Atlas Arts on the Plural Futures Community Film commission on the Isle of Skye, as well as an upcoming exhibition with artist Aman Sandhu at Glasgow International 2021. In addition to the financial support to create The Besom, Black will be receiving a solo show at LUX in London, as well as a touring show throughout Scotland.

His new work, named after a 19th century inn, will explore various social and industrial pasts which now haunt the surroundings of this now-derelict building, which once used to operate as a gathering place. Weaving together local historical research, as well as conventions inherent to topographical and fantasy writing, The Besom will explore narratives surrounding how digital technologies allow for unprecedented improvisation and collaboration, but also how these advances have come to mediate our experiences of our own memories and bodies.

This year's award panel included Alberta Whittle (2018 Margaret Tait Award recipient); Kim McAleese (Programme Director, Grand Union, Birmingham); Tina Fiske (Director, CAMPLE LINE, Dumfriesshire); Thomas Abercromby (artist and curator); Sean Greenhorn (Screen Scotland); and Kitty Anderson (Director, LUX Scotland, panel chair). The other artists making up the 2021 Margaret Tait Award shortlist include Christian Noelle Charles, Winnie Herbstein, Mathew Wayne Parkin, and Tako Taal.

Andrew Black. Revenge Fantasy, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Regarding his win, Black says, 'I feel completely stunned to receive the Margaret Tait Award this year – it's a massive deal for anyone who makes moving image in Scotland. It's all the more humbling considering the quantity of excellent video work being made here – all of the shortlisted artists have practices that I know and love, and I can't really express how privileged I feel to have been included alongside them.'

'I tried to propose a project that can work imaginatively with the limitations of our present situation and create the circumstances for exchange and improvisation. It's a project I've wanted to make for a long time, and it seemed to offer an opportunity to explore some of the anxieties and complexities of the current moment, so I'm excited to see where it will lead once we get started. I'm extremely grateful to those who nominated me, to LUX Scotland, Glasgow Film and Screen Scotland, and most of all to my friends and peers, who constitute the creative community I have benefitted from so much.'

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