Whitechapel Gallery honours Tracy Emin with award

BRITISH artist Tracy Emin will be the ninth recipient of the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon honour. The prestigious award was established in 2014 in partnership with Swarovski and the Swarovski Foundation. Emin has had an incredibly successful career spanning multiple decades.

Her autobiographical and confessional artwork, including her infamous My Bed installation, has garnered a loyal following and critical acclaim. F

From her intimate nude portraits in her 1996 series Naked Photos – Life Model Goes Mad to her recognisably romantic neon signage work, Emin has created a well-respected reputation in the art world deserving of the Whitechapel gallery honour.

“Over the past four decades, her work across painting, sculpture, installation, film, and photography has both challenged and transformed conceptions of art, gender, health and autonomy; now, as one of the most renowned artists of our time, Emin’s impact can be seen globally”, Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick explains the justification behind the recipient of the reward. 

Just recently, the artist announced she is establishing an art school and museum in her seaside hometown of Margate as the Tracey Emin Foundation continues to provide a sculpture park, artist residencies, classes and, crucially, a life-drawing club for the youth. 


Tracey Emin, The Ship, 2019, Acrylic on canvas


Like the Whitechapel Gallery, Emin prioritises making art accessible to everyone. An online auction featuring donated artworks from leading contemporary artists will accompany the gala. 

The funds raised by the auction will go towards the Whitechapel Gallery’s programme, which makes art accessible to thousands of children and young people. 


by Jamison Kent

The Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award will be presented to Emin at a gala on March 22, 2022