Joy Gregory wins the Freelands Award 2023

Image of artist Joy Gregory

We are thrilled to share that Joy Gregory with Whitechapel Gallery has won the Freelands Award 2023. This award enables organisations to present an exhibition by a mid-career female-identifying artist who may not yet have received the acclaim or public recognition that her work deserves.

In Autumn 2025 we will stage Gregory’s first monographic exhibition, surveying a four-decade practice that has influenced generations of younger artists. Almost 100 works spanning analogue and digital photography, video, film installation, performance and textiles will highlight Gregory’s contribution to the development of photography in the UK.

Of the award, Gregory said: “Winning this award is a huge honour and supports a unique opportunity to present my work at Whitechapel Gallery, sharing my belief in the transformative power of photography with their many communities and providing validation for a career dedicated to pushing the boundaries of photography.

My journey has been one of exploring the vast possibilities the medium offers, playing with its many forms, and using it to tell overlooked stories, bridge communities, and offer diverse perspectives on the world. I am so very thrilled and proud to be rewarded for what I regard as an unconventional approach. I hope that my work inspires others to embrace their own passion and innovative ideas.”

Whitechapel Gallery Director Gilane Tawadros added “We are truly delighted to be the recipient of this year’s Freelands Award.  It allows us to realise the full ambitions for our exhibition of UK-based artist and photographer, Joy Gregory.

The ethos behind this important annual award, aligns with our renewed commitment to foregrounding extraordinary women artists, especially those who haven’t yet had the recognition they deserve, championing their contribution to contemporary art and society, and bringing them to the attention of the widest possible audiences: locally, nationally, and internationally.  

Gregory’s significant multi-disciplinary practice encompasses photography, moving image, digital film installation, sound, and (more recently) textiles through which she explores prescient socio-political issues around identity, race, and gender, as well as the effect of geography, history and colonisation on individuals and communities.  

Long overdue, this exhibition presents work from across four decades, alongside a new commission, substantial publication, and an ambitious artist-led public programme, that will confirm Joy’s legacy as a leading figure in contemporary British and international art.