The photographs, Kirkgate Towers (2022), Wakey Tavern (2022), Beauty Shop (2022) and Bus Stop (2022) were specially commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield for last year’s Hannah Starkey: In Real Life exhibition, supported by the Freelands Award.
For the commission, Starkey worked in collaboration with female students from Wakefield’s CAPA College to capture a series of photographs of them in the places they frequent, reflecting the lives of these young women in Wakefield.
The commission explores ideas of beauty, community and belonging. Starkey has collaborated with women throughout her career, including with the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Yvette Cooper, in 2018; creating large-scale, carefully choreographed photographs that explore a deep interest in how women are represented in contemporary culture.
The Wakefield commission captures the small gestures and glances of everyday experience, while subverting traditional notions of documentary and street photography.
Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this significant grant through the Freeland Art Fund Acquisition that has enabled us to acquire this special body of work for Wakefield.
"The photographs capture an important moment of social history, representing young people growing up in the north as the UK emerges from a devastating global pandemic. Shot in locations familiar to our audiences,
"Starkey’s Wakefield commission continues our ambition of connecting local people in meaningful ways with Wakefield’s art collection, as well as to the internationally significant artists that we bring to Yorkshire.
"We are so pleased to be able to add these photographs to Wakefield’s art collection, providing a permanent legacy for this exceptional project and are grateful to both the Art Fund and Freelands Foundation for their ongoing support of our work."
Kirkgate Towers from the Wakefield commission will go back on display at The Hepworth Wakefield from Tuesday, September 19.
The partnership between Freelands Foundation and Art Fund offers grants of up to £50,000 for museums to acquire works by winners of the Freelands Award, increasing public access to contemporary work by women artists in the UK.