Part of Margaret Tait Commission
Emilia Beatriz becomes the eleventh recipient of the Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists 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. The £15,000 commission will premiere at Glasgow Film Festival in February 2020 and will subsequently tour with LUX Scotland.
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*~.
Inspired by the wealth of talent emerging from artists working with the moving image in Scotland, the Award is presented to a 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.
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.
On receiving the award, 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.’
Beatriz was shortlist alongside artists Sulaïman Majali, Kimberley O’Neill, and Hardeep Pandhal.
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 commission.
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.’
The Margaret Tait Commission is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Creative Scotland.