On Monday 2 March, LUX Scotland announced artist Emilia Beatriz as the eleventh recipient of the £15,000 Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists. The award was presented to Emilia at the Glasgow Film Festival at the world premiere of Jamie Crewe’s 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award commission Ashley (2020).
Established in 2010, the Margaret Tait Award is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Screen Scotland. Inspired by the pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918–99), the award recognises experimental and innovative artists working with the moving image, offering a unique avenue of commissioning and production support and providing a high-profile platform to exhibit newly commissioned work.
Emilia Beatriz is an artist, organiser and beekeeper in-study. Emilia uses film, photography, text, sound and performance to re-imagine embodied histories of land, healing and resistance, focusing on intergenerational and inter-species listening, grief-work, and ecological struggle as decolonial world-building practices. Emilia’s practice is underpinned by workshops, oral histories, community archiving, work with Collective Text, and collaborating as Letitia Beatriz aka *~care and rage*~.
Emilia will use the Award to build on working methodologies developed during their 2019 exhibition at CCA Glasgow, declarations on soil and honey, to make their first single-screen film for a cinema context in Glasgow Film Theatre. The new film will seek to describe what can be felt through the land—which is to say the body—in shifting climates or landscapes of loss, by filmically, sonically and bodily translating barrunto; a word used in Puerto Rico for a bodily unrest, omen or forecast sensed via signals presented in the environment.
This process will involve intuitive body and ground-based 16mm filmmaking, performative elements developed with Alicia Matthews and Nima Séne, and an enveloping vibration-based sound design by Kiera Coward Deyell. The new film will combine historical and speculative narratives focusing on a disappearing species of bumblebees in the north coast of Scotland, a ‘zombie moss’ character based on herbarium archive research, and the first-ever photographs of quantum entanglement - made in Glasgow last year.
Inspired by the wealth of talent emerging from artists working with the moving image in Scotland, the Award is presented to a Scottish or Scotland-based artist who has established a significant body of work over the past 5–12 years; is recognised by peers for their contribution to the artists’ moving image sector; and can demonstrate the significant impact that the award will have on the development of their practice. The recipient of the award receives a £15,000 commissioning prize to produce ambitious new work, which is exhibited at the Glasgow Film Festival the following year.
Emilia Beatriz said: “I am honoured to have been shortlisted with such a brilliant group of artists and to join an inspiring list of previous recipients. The award will enable me to make my first single-screen film for a cinema context at Glasgow Film Theatre. The award will support collaborations with sound designer Kiera Coward Deyell, and artists Alicia Matthews & Nima Séne, as well as nourish conversations between artists, scientists, beekeepers, grief workers and archivists in Scotland.
"I look forward to experimenting with materials that escape the screen to create a sensual experience that expands the boundaries of cinematic time & space, and for the opportunity make a film that can contribute to dialogue in Scotland an further afield around (is)land ecologies, history, language, memory, and place.”
The 2020/21 Margaret Tait Award panel said: "It is a cliché in these situations to talk about how good the shortlist (and indeed the longlist) were this year, but it really is true. Emilia is the recipient because of their considered and exciting proposal and the generosity they make manifest in their work.
"Emilia’s authentic engagement with Scottish (and other) landscapes and ability to interweave complex human and non-human experience is astounding. We were genuinely affected by the prospect of this new work and felt its scale and ambition would only be made possible through an award such as this." Helen Nisbet, Curator and Artistic Director, Art Night.
Kitty Anderson, Director of LUX Scotland said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Emilia over the coming year to realise their proposal for the Margaret Tait Award which will be premiered at Glasgow Film Festival 2021. We look forward to working with them to tour the new work, and to bring their work to a wider audience.
"Our thanks go to Glasgow Film Festival and Screen Scotland for their ongoing support of this wonderful opportunity, and to this year’s brilliant selection panel for their enthusiasm, diligence and expertise. Our thanks also go to the shortlisted artists for their excellent proposals, and all the artists that submitted their work for consideration. And finally, to all of the nominators, without whom we would not have received such a wonderfully diverse and far-reaching long-list, which this year included a record number of artists from across Scotland.”
Sean Greenhorn, Screen Officer at Screen Scotland said: “Screen Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2020 Margaret Tait Award. Over the past ten years, the award has helped Scottish and Scotland-based moving image artists achieve the next step in their practice, and we have seen some incredibly stirring, innovative and powerful work. We are excited to see Emilia’s work next year, which promises to be a smart, poetic and caring piece of moving image.”
Full details on the Margaret Tait award can be found here: https://luxscotland.org.uk/programme/margaret-tait-award-residency/
Notes to editors
The 2020/21 Margaret Tait Award was decided by a panel of professionals working across the fields of the visual arts and cinema, comprising of Sarah Forrest (2017/18 Award recipient); Myriam Mouflih (Africa in Motion and Transmission Gallery); Helen Nisbet (Curator and Artistic Director, Art Night); Morgan Quaintance (artist); Sean Greenhorn (Creative Scotland) and Kitty Anderson (LUX Scotland, chair). From the pool of eligible artists who were nominated through an open call process, four were then shortlisted by the panel and invited to present a proposal for the £15,000 commission. The shortlisted artists were Emilia Beatriz, Sulaïman Majali, Kimberley O’Neill, Hardeep Pandhal.
Jamie Crewe, recipient of the 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award, screened the world premiere of Ashley on Monday 2 March at Glasgow Film Festival 2020. Previous Margaret Tait Award recipients and commissions include Jamie Crewe, Ashley (2020), Alberta Whittle, between a whisper and a cry (2019); Sarah Forrest, April (2018); Kate Davis, Charity (2017); Duncan Marquiss, Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps (2016); Charlotte Prodger, The Stoneymollan Trail (2015); Rachel Maclean, Happy & Glorious (2014); Stephen Sutcliffe, Outwork (2013); Anne-Marie Copestake, And Under That (2012); and Torsten Lauschmann, At The Heart of Everything is a Row of Holes (2011).
LUX Scotland is a non-profit agency dedicated to supporting, developing and promoting artists’ moving image practices in Scotland. Working at the intersection of the contemporary visual arts and film sectors, its core activities include public exhibition and touring projects, learning and professional development for artists and arts professionals, distribution, commissioning and production support, research and sector advocacy. From its offices based in Glasgow, it works with a growing network of national and international partners, including museums, contemporary art organisations, film festivals and educational institutions, to deliver its programme. One of its current priorities is the establishment of a new distribution collection of artists’ moving image based in Scotland. Established in 2014, LUX Scotland is a part of LUX and is supported by Creative Scotland. luxscotland.org.uk
Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) is firmly established as a key event in the UK's film calendar. Having grown greatly in visibility and significance in recent years, the festival has leapt into the top three film festivals in the UK. With 77 UK premieres and films from 51 countries, GFF 2018 welcomed audiences for an ambitious, wide-ranging programme. GFF continues to grow and develop its international reputation. The 2020 festival runs from 26 February – 8 March. https://glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival
Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. With £20 million from Scottish Government and the National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support. Screen Scotland sits within Creative Scotland and is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success.
Header Image Credit: Emelia Beatriz. 'A forecast, a haunting, a crossing, a visitation, (3-channel video and still). 2019. Courtesy of the artist.