£1 million awarded to 40 visual artists and composers in one of the toughest years for the arts

Published: 29 July 2021 
Concentric squares with various pastel designs.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation is making 40 awards of £25,000 to 20 visual artists and 20 composers – totalling £1 million – through Awards for Artists, one of the most significant philanthropic awards for visual artists and composers in the UK. The awards are given with no strings attached.

The awards to visual artists extend across a wide spectrum of media, from sculpture and installation to performance and film. They include figurative artist Claudette Johnson; performance artist Hetain Patel; Jasleen Kaur who works with sculpture, video and writing; and film makers Maeve Brennan, Margaret Salmon and Imran Perretta.

The recipients of this year’s composers awards work in many different music genres, ranging from classical and experimental to jazz and folk. They include alto-saxophonist and MC Soweto Kinch; folk singer Shirley Collins; trumpeter Yazz Ahmed; composer Cassandra Miller and cellist Abel Selaocoe.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists were launched in 1994, to give significant financial support to visual artists and composers at a pivotal moment in their careers. Since then, 327 artists have received a total of £9.3 million.

The pandemic has substantially impacted how artists are able to produce, present and perform their work, threatening many artists’ livelihoods and their ability to continue with their creative practice. Visual artists and composers have been particularly hard hit by the lack of income, with a third of musicians considering leaving the industry (UK Music), and 96% of visual artists saying their income has significantly reduced during the pandemic (The Artists’ Information Company).

In the face of this ongoing crisis, we decided to remove the competitive element of the awards and support a larger number of artists. The result is an incredibly diverse group which we are delighted to be supporting, helping to provide some financial stability and allowing them to thrive during one of the toughest years for the arts.”

Jane Hamlyn, Chair, Paul Hamlyn Foundation 

Joanna MacGregor CBE, Chair of the composers judging panel said: This was a wonderful opportunity to support creative musicians through a desperate and difficult time, when venues have been shut, and commissions lost. Our composers are drawn from the worlds of jazz, classical, folk and experimental music; all of them are influential, and inspirational.”

Awards for Artists recipients in 2021

Visual artists

  • Ain Bailey
  • Simeon Barclay
  • Maeve Brennan
  • Flo Brooks
  • Evan Ifekoya
  • Claudette Johnson
  • Nnena Kalu
  • Samson Kambalu
  • Jasleen Kaur
  • Serena Korda
  • Elaine Mitchener
  • Jade Montserrat
  • Abi Palmer
  • Hardeep Pandhal (MIDIevil)
  • Hetain Patel
  • Imran Perretta
  • Sadia Pineda Hameed
  • Margaret Salmon
  • Carey Young
  • Abbas Zahedi


  • Yazz Ahmed
  • Auclair
  • Shirley Collins
  • Tom Coult
  • Jayne Dent
  • Tim Garland
  • Simon Holt
  • Soweto Kinch
  • Cassie Kinoshi
  • Ryan Latimer
  • Cassandra Miller
  • Aidan O’Rourke
  • Sophya Polevaya
  • Rowan Rheingans
  • Abel Selaocoe
  • Joe Snape
  • James B Wilson

*3 composer recipients prefer to remain anonymous