Saturday, 16 June 2007

Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, offering disabled or deaf visual artists a £5,000 award

Applications invited from Visual Artists for £5,000 award.
Shape has launched the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary, offering disabled or deaf visual artists a £5,000 award, and a yearlong artistic residency. The bursary is absolutely unique in its aim to provide an opportunity for artists to develop their ideas and practice without pressure to deliver a particular outcome.

The bursary is in memory of Adam Reynolds who died in 2005. Adam was a past Chairman of Shapes Board of Trustees, a renowned sculptor and an activist for disability equality in the arts. The bursary will be offered annually to support a disabled artist working in the visual arts. Each year, the bursary will be offered in conjunction with a residency in a visual arts venue. In the first year, this will be Camden Arts Centre in North London, where Adam himself had a residency.

The successful artist will be selected from an open submission, on the strength of their work and proposal. The artist will also be able to benefit from support and advice from the Artists Professional Development team at Shape, and, if they wish from Link Up, the mentoring and advice and guidance programme that Shape also runs.

Adam exhibited his work throughout the 1980s and 1990s whilst developing the Adam Gallery (the gallery he ran in South London from 1984 to 1997 which provided a forum for other emerging artists). He also had solo shows at the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield in 1990 and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1994.

Adam worked with many different materials including lead, copper, steel and glass. His work moved from predominantly figurative pieces in the 1980s (e.g. his gargoyle figures) towards more abstract, geometric and larger scale work in the 90s and beyond, like the public commissions for Scope’s Midlands Office, Boscombe Day Centre near Bournemouth and Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, illustrated below. A common thread throughout his work was his desire to "express apparent contradictions and to help others enjoy the contradictory nature of the universe". He did this most obviously, for example, in his lead series, which included a lead balloon and kite. He goes on "I am clear that my greatest strengths stem from the fact of being born with muscular dystrophy, apparently my greatest weakness". He always favoured using scrap materials and found objects - picked up from the street or dug out of the ground - making his viewers reconsider the value and beauty of overlooked and rejected 'stuff'. He explained this tendency as being "founded on my lifelong experience of disability and [the desire to challenge] the commonplace assumption that this renders life all but useless and without value".

Artists can contact Shape for informal discussions about the bursary. Please see Shape’s website for full details of how to apply.

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