Why the Four Turner Prize Finalists Got a Collective Win

  • December 08, 2019 17:26

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Tai Shani, DC Semiramis, 2018 Glasgow.
Courtesy the artist, Photo Keith Hunter
Oscar Murillo, installation view of Violent Amnesia at Kettle’s Yard, 9 April 2019 – 23 June 2019. © Oscar Murillo. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner
Photograph by Jack Hems
The Turner Prize 2019 nominees are all winners: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Commack, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani.

All four finalists — Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani and Oscar Murillo — for the U.K.'s prestigious Turner Prize have won in an unprecedented twist of events last week.

The four artists lodged a request with judges that was accepted. After three and half decades of handing out the award to just one rising British artist, the quartet of finalists was granted their wish that they would all win, as a collective.

"At this time of political crisis in Britain and much of the world, when there is already so much that divides and isolates people and communities," the finalists said in their joint letter to judges, "we feel strongly motivated to use the occasion of the Prize to make a collective statement in the name of commonality, multiplicity and solidarity — in art as in society."

The artists will split the $52,000 prize money.

"In coming together and presenting themselves as a group, this year's nominated artists certainly gave the jury a lot to think about. But it is very much in the spirit of these artists' work to challenge convention, to resist polarized world views, and to champion other voices," Alex Farquharson, director of the Tate Britain museum and chair of the judges' panel, said in a statement.

Each of the artists' work touches on social and political issues. Said Helen Cammock in her speech for the group: "We each seek to use art to push the edges of our issues, mapping the bleed of one into another — across time, across sectionalities, across the realm of the real and the imagined and through walls and borders."

Read more at NPR


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