Standpoint is pleased to announce Nnena Kalu had been awarded a Mark Tanner Sculpture Grant.
Nnena Kalu (b.1966, Glasgow, UK) is a sculptor and visual artist who has worked with ActionSpace for over 20 years at their supported studio at Studio Voltaire. Nnena has developed a unique practice that shares her sculptural process with the viewer by creating performative, large-scale installations in-situ.
Nnena was awarded the one-off £4,000 grant following this year’s Mark Tanner Sculpture Award (MTSA) shortlisted interviews. The panel, including artist Eva Rothschild and curator Lewis Gilbert, identified that Nnena would benefit from additional supported time in her ActionSpace studio and a grant to enable this would make a beneficial impact on the artist’s sculptural practice and future development.
ActionSpace is a London based visual arts organisation who supports artists with learning disabilities in developing their artist practices. The grant will provide Nnena with supported studio time for a six-month period.
“ActionSpace is thrilled Nnena is receiving the Mark Tanner Sculpture Grant, it is a fantastic endorsement of Nnena’s unique practice and hard work over recent years. The grant will support Nnena’s Loewe Foundation/Studio Voltaire award and enable ActionSpace to effectively support Nnena over the next 6 months to further develop and expand her sculptural practice.”
- Charlotte Hollinshead, ActionSpace Associate Artist and Nnena’s Artist Facilitator.
Nnena creates sculptural forms of varying sizes; from collections of small, tightly constructed pods and cocoons to large, complex pieces. Throughout her practice the physical connection to her work whilst making is crucial. Nnena responds to the rhythm and noise of creating so the whole process becomes fully immersive and determines the shape, style and nature of each piece.
The grant follows an ongoing development for the MTSA, which continues to support outstanding and innovative practice in the field of sculpture. The award has grown considerably over the last 20years from being a London focused award, to being open to all artist in the UK and most recently the addition of a touring programme for winning artists. The next round of applications opens in January 2022.
Nnena Kalu Biography
Nnena has exhibited nationally and internationally, including three major solo exhibitions: Nnena Kalu at Glasgow International in 2018 with Project Ability, Wrapping at Humber Street Gallery, Hull in 2019 and Nnena’s first major London based solo commission for Studio Voltaire elsewhere, Studio Voltaire’s offsite programme in 2020. Nnena was invited by Yinka Shonibare to create new sculptural work for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2021. Also in 2021 Nnena was a recipient of the Loewe Foundation/Studio Voltaire award and was awarded her own studio space in the newly redeveloped Studio Voltaire.
Above image: Nnena Kalu, Wrapping, Humberstreet Gallery, Hull 2019. Image courtesy of the artist and ActionSpace.