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Hepworth Wakefield launches £30,000 hunt to find Britain’s top sculptor


By Kelly Woodward

THE HEPWORTH Wakefield has launched the first UK-wide competition to honour the nation’s sculptors – with a prize of £30,000 at stake.

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is primarily recognising British and UK-based artists who make a significant contribution to contemporary sculpture.

The Prize for Sculpture was created to celebrate the gallery’s fifth anniversary during 2016.

It is named after Barbara Hepworth, a greatly celebrated sculpture artist who was born and brought up in Wakefield. The Hepworth Wakefield has the largest number of works by the artist on permanent display anywhere in the UK.

The Hepworth Wakefield’s Director, Simon Wallis said: “We are living in an exceptionally rich and exciting time for experiencing sculpture in this country and yet there was no significant prize to recognise this art form.

“We launched the UK’s first major art prize to celebrate sculpture in its broadest sense and to promote wider engagement with this art form.”

The Hepworth Wakefield is currently showcasing the work of all four shortlisted artists Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla.

Helen Marten, a Macclesfield-born artist, is the youngest of the shortlisted artists at 30 years old.

Helen presents seven recent works that fold familiar images and objects from our everyday surroundings into intricately crafted installations.

The exhibition is running from October 21 – February 19 and the winner will be announced on November 17.

The winner will receive £30,000 at an awards dinner taking place at the Hepworth Wakefield.

Visitors to the gallery will be able to judge the competition themselves by voting for whom they would award the Prize of Sculpture to.

Katy Badger, a Sculpture Art graduate from Lancaster and a regular visitor to the Hepworth Wakefield said: “I think it is really good to have a Prize for Sculpture based in the UK.

“There are so many well-known UK-based artists like Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth that it is important to value these sculpture artists.

“As a graduate, this award will greatly benefit younger students studying Art and show them that there are more platforms to art than just drawing and painting.”

The results of the public votes will be announced after the main prize, which is awarded and judged by the panel.

The panel consists of five leading international commentators within the field of visual arts.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea and GAM will be one of the leading professionals in the panel judging the four shortlisted candidates.

What do you think?