Alberta Whittle won the 2020 Frieze Artist Award.

Justin Kamp
Aug 25, 2020 4:14PM, via Frieze

Still from forthcoming Alberta Whittle film that will debut during Frieze London. Photo courtesy Matthew A. Williams.

Alberta Whittle was named the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award 2020. The award, presented by Frieze in conjunction with London-based arts organization Forma, gives emerging international artists the opportunity to create commissioned work that will be shown during Frieze Week London as well as online as part of Frieze Viewing Rooms. The commission will premiere October 8th both in-person at Forma HQ and online at, with additional in-person screenings occurring daily between noon and 5 pm from October 9th until October 16th.

The 2020 edition of the award focused on the medium of film, and Whittle was selected by a jury composed of industry figures including Frieze artistic director Eva Langret, Forma artistic director Chris Rawcliffe, the winner of Frieze Artist Award 2019 Himali Singh Soin, artistic director and chief curator of the M Woods Museum Victor Wang, and director of Chisenhale Gallery Zoé Whitley. Whittle was chosen from a shortlist of nominees including Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Jamie Crewe, Adham Faramawy, Arash Fayez, Onyeka Igwe, Helene Kazan and Sadé Mica.

Whittle, who was born in Barbados and is based in Glasgow, focuses on care, compassion, and anti-Blackness in her work, which often takes the form of site-specific, interactive installations that combine film, sculpture, and performance. Her proposal for the 2020 edition of the award features a new film work informed by feminist scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as well as the relationship between fear of contagions and moral panics in xenophobic, colonialist societies.

Rawcliffe said in a statement:

This year’s selected artist, Alberta Whittle, has shown incredible generosity in her creative process, inviting multiple collaborators to work on her commission. In her films, Whittle balances urgent political and social issues with poetic narratives that transcend time and resonate with us all. In these more than challenging times, Whittle’s voice speaks louder and clearer than most.
Justin Kamp
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