Freelands Award 2016
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

The recipient of the inaugural Freelands Award was The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, which presented a major exhibition with artist Jacqueline Donachie.

The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
Winner of the Freelands Award 2016

Elisabeth Murdoch, founder of Freelands Foundation and Chair of the selection panel for the Award:

The Fruitmarket Gallery has a long tradition of excellence both in the UK and the international contemporary art world. As a jury, we were most impressed by their commitment to placing the artist at the centre of their work and their dedication to ambitious exhibition-making and accompanying artist-led publications. Their proposal to work with Jacqueline Donachie showed a deep sensitivity to the intention behind the Freelands Award. As the Fruitmarket stated in their application, Jacqueline is a noted member of the so-called “Glasgow Miracle” – and yet after 25 years she has never had an exhibition that brings together new and existing work to allow an appraisal of her diverse practice as a whole. With this award, The Fruitmarket Gallery will provide Jacqueline with the financial freedom and curatorial support to create ambitious new work and enable greater recognition.

The work of all of the shortlisted regional organisations is outstanding. On behalf of my fellow jurors I would like to thank all of them for participating and congratulate them on their superb applications.”

Fiona Bradley, Director of the Fruitmarket Gallery:

“I am thrilled at this endorsement from the Freelands Foundation of the Fruitmarket Gallery and the way we work with artists. The Award represents an exceptional opportunity, putting substantial funding in place, which enables both the Gallery and Jacqueline Donachie to concentrate on making a great exhibition and accompanying publication, knowing that there’s the budget to match our ambitions. Jacqueline is such an exciting artist, and we are confident that she will make the most of the transformational opportunity the Award offers, and make something very special for our audiences.”

Selected Artist, Jacqueline Donachie

Jacqueline Donachie (born 1969 in Glasgow) studied in the Environmental Art Department of Glasgow School of Art from 1987 to 1991. Part of the generation of Glasgow-based artists that includes Christine Borland, Martin Boyce, Roderick Buchanan, Nathan Coley, Douglas Gordon and Ross Sinclair, she was a committee member at Transmission Gallery from 1993 to 1995, before going on to an MFA at Hunter College, New York in 1996. Donachie has exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions and commissions at IASPIS, Stockholm (2002); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2004); The Hunterian, Glasgow (2006); and Glasgow Museums GoMA (2016). Her work has been included in major group exhibitions, including Here and Now, Scottish Art 1990–2001 at Dundee Contemporary Arts (2001); Talking Loud and Sayin’ Something at Gothenburg Museum of Art (2008); Glasgow International (2010); Artists and Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv (2013); Desire Lines, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne (2013); and Generation, 25 years of Scottish Art (2015). She also creates public, site-specific projects and publishes artist books. She lives and works in Glasgow. Jacqueline Donachie’s art is rooted in an exploration of individual, family and collective identity and the structures, platforms and spaces (both actual and conceptual) through which it is constructed and supported. Her work encompasses sculpture, installations, photographs, films, drawings and performance, and is research-based, collaborative and participatory. Interested in ‘expert cultures’ and how interacting with them can provide material for art, she has made work with members of a wide range of communities including hospital staff and patients, members of a judo club for the visually impaired, dancers from topless bars around Edinburgh, users of public transport, and members of a gospel choir. In recent years, she has focused much of her work in the social and scientific contexts of disease, disability and difference, working with scientists, researchers and individuals whose lives have been affected by specific genetic conditions. Donachie is one of a number of artists currently working (Jeremy Deller, Phil Collins, Ross Sinclair are others) whose practice depends on direct and convincing engagement with the communities for and with whom it is made. She often sites work in public spaces, and uses means and materials drawn from the everyday urban environment, as for example in Glasgow Slow Down, a mass community cycling event, which resulted in a huge collaborative chalk drawing across the city of Glasgow launching the countdown to the 2015 Commonwealth Games. In 1999, Donachie’s sister’s second child was diagnosed at birth with myotonic dystrophy, a genetic condition with a distinct pattern (mild, late-onset symptoms in the grandparental generation, more severe symptoms in the parental, profoundly disabling symptoms in the child). Pregnant herself at the time, Donachie discovered that she had been passed the healthy gene, and that she and her subsequent three children were unaffected by the disease, while the rest of her family were variously and progressively disabled by it. Committed as she is to making art which helps us make sense of who we are and our place in the world, Donachie’s response to the sudden medical revelations within her own family, and the subsequent alteration of her family’s and her own sense of identity, was to use it as a context for art. Collaborating with a range of medical and research professionals and with a number of affected families, she made Tomorrow Belongs to Me, a project culminating in a film, book and exhibition for the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow in 2006; and Deep in the Heart of Your Brain, an exhibition for Glasgow Museums GoMA in 2016, which brings together sculpture, drawings and film informed by the material she has gathered and relationships she has made during the course of her research into myotonic dystrophy.
Elisabeth Murdoch, Founder and Chair of Freelands Foundation, Jacqueline Donachie and Dr Fiona Bradley, Director of The Fruitmarket Gallery



Selection Panel

Elisabeth Murdoch

Phyllida Barlow

Martin Clark
Director, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway

Teresa Gleadowe

Jenni Lomax
Director, Camden Arts Centre, London