One artist will be £30,000 richer tonight when the first ever winner of the The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is finally revealed.
Billed as sculpture’s answer to the Turner Prize the biannual competition was launched this year by the Wakefield gallery to mark its fifth anniversary.
Phyllida Barlow, Helen Marten, Steven Claydon and David Medalla made it onto the shortlist and the winner will be announced at this evening’s ceremony by the Halifax-born fashion designer and Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey.
More than 250 guests, including the designer turned sculptor Nicole Fahri and the broadcaster Janet Street Porter are expected to attend tonight’s event which will be hosted at The Hepworth by the BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz.
Gallery director Simon Wallis said: “When we initially had the idea for the Prize we approached a number of artists and curators and asked them to name the major award for sculpture. When each time they looked blank we knew we were onto something.
“The fact that one had never existed was both surprising and disappointing, but for us it was also an opportunity. It was a strange anomaly, but here at The Hepworth sculpture is in our DNA.
“It’s right there in the name of the gallery which honours Barbara Hepworth and it seemed right that if anyone was going to redress the balance it should be us.”
Unlike most art prizes, The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture recognises a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture.
This year’s judging panel included Lisa Le Feuvre, director of the Leeds-based Henry Moore Institute and Sally Tallant, the director of the Liverpool Biennial and an exhibition of work by all the shortlisted artists will run at the gallery until February 19.