Helen Cammock. Photo: Thierry Bal.

Helen Cammock Wins Max Mara Art Prize for Women

Helen Cammock has been named the seventh winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women at a ceremony at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, on April 16. The prize, which has been awarded in alternate years since 2005, supports female artists who are based in the UK and have never had a solo exhibition. The artists shortlisted for the honor include Céline Condorelli, Eloise Hawser, Athena Papadopoulos, and Mandy El-Sayegh.

Cammock, who is interested in telling stories that contribute to a broader understanding of the fabric of contemporary society, will be given the opportunity to create new work during a six-month residency divided between six Italian cities: Bologna, Florence, Venice, Rome, Palermo, and Reggio Emilia. Organized by Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery, the residency starts on May 2 and will culminate in a major solo exhibition at Whitechapel in 2019. The show will also travel to the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia.

The winning proposal focuses on how emotion is expressed in Italian culture and society, with a particular focus on opera, classical, and folk music, art, poetry, writing, and dance. Cammock will work to uncover hidden female voices across Italian histories, aiming to create a commentary on the feelings of loss, mourning, resilience, and survival through collage, layering, and juxtaposition.

“It’s incredible to have been awarded such a supportive and artist focused prize,” Cammock said. “I have never before experienced a structured opportunity that encompasses travel, research, making, and then showing over a sustained period.”

She added: “Over the six-month residency, I’ll find myself in a culture that is new to me, meet practitioners who work in different ways to me, and consider how my practice can move into dialogue with new histories. It is an opportunity for space and time to focus on being an artist—this is perhaps the most significant aspect of this prize.”