In a surprise move last night, it was announced that this year’s Turner Prize would be awarded to a collective of all four shortlisted artists.
The four nominees – Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani – came together to request that the jury consider awarding the Prize to them as a collective. In recognition of these artists’ shared commitment to urgent social and political causes, the jury unanimously decided to honour that request.
Presented by Edward Enninful, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, at a ceremony broadcast live on the BBC from Dreamland in Margate, the news was positively received by the audience, although caused the usual outrage on Twitter and mass googling of Shani’s ‘Tories Out’ necklace.
In a joint letter to the jury, the artists said: ‘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, 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 jury praised the artists for their commitment to the collective power of art. They noted that this unique and timely act of solidarity encapsulates the very reasons for which these four artists were nominated in the first place, as demonstrated in the works they exhibited at Turner Contemporary.
The jury said:“At our meeting today, we were presented with the letter from the artists and unanimously took the decision to agree to their request. We are honoured to be supporting this bold statement of solidarity and collaboration in these divided times. Their symbolic act reflects the political and social poetics that we admire and value in their work.”
Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner Prize jury, said: “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 polarised world views, and to champion other voices. The jury all felt that this made the collective a worthy winner of the Turner Prize.”
In alternate years the prize is held outside London. This year in the Turner Contemporary, Margate. The exhibition of the four shortlisted artists has already been seen by almost 100,000 visitors, making it one of the most popular Turner Prize shows outside London. It will continue at the at Turner Contemporary until Sunday 12 January 2020. Entry is free.
Read more on the Turner Prize at WIA Spotlight on… Turner Prize article.