Manchester artists triumphed at the art08 awards in Liverpool on Thursday, the North West's fifth annual celebration of the arts. Manchester International Festival won the Putting the North West on the Map Award for the opera Monkey – Journey to the West, which has a score by Damon Albarn and combines traditional Chinese theatre disciplines, acrobatics and martial arts with animation and video projection.
Cathy Gallagher of Manchester International Festival said : “We're looking forward to making even more of an impact in 2009.”
Conceptual artist Naomi Kashiwagi claimed the Individual Artist Award for her composition ||: Repetition :||, Fugue No.1 in QWERTY for 8 Typewriter (yep, that’s the daftest award name ever), a synthesised music and text score that was performed at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Four pianists and four percussionists from The Royal Northern College of Music interpreted and performed the score on typewriters.
Kashiwagi said: “I’m just thrilled to win. To get recognition of this sort will be the catalyst for a new series of work with other artists across other disciplines.”
Aileen McEvoy, Interim Executive Director of Arts Council England, North West said: “We’ve been delighted with the rich variety and excellent standard of work we’ve been judging from the region as part of art08. Manchester International Festival and Naomi are truly deserving winners. Both have proven their dedication and commitment to furthering arts in the region. Indeed all our art08 award winners have demonstrated their dedication to delivering the kind of fantastic work that inspires us and brings us together, making the North West a better place to be.”
Prizes were up for grabs in five categories: Unsung Heroes, Putting the North West on the Map, Creative Sparks, Inside Out Online and Individual Artists.
Lancashire youth arts worker Paul Hartley won the Outstanding Achievements in the Arts accolade, which has a £10,000 prize, as well as the top award in the Unsung Heroes category for his work on programmes such as Channel 4's the Big ArT Project in Burnley. The Big ArT project was led by fifteen local teenagers who created 19 paintings and projections across Burnley that can only be seen in UV light.
The Creative Sparks award, which encourages partnership between art and business, went to Shine at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, a project where visitors to the website can win a masterclass with a professional artist, author, musician or craftsperson. Lancaster’s Nuffield Theatre won the Inside Outside Online Award.
The ceremony, at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, was organised by the Arts Council, North West, and the North West Regional Development Agency. It was hosted by comedian and writer Dave Spikey
Peter Mearns, NWDA Executive Director of Marketing and communications, said: “England’s Northwest is home to some of the best, unique and creative talent anywhere in the UK. art08 has offered a platform from which we can celebrate the region’s outstanding artistic strength and encourage people to engage in the arts. The NWDA is delighted to have been a major partner in art08.”
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