The British African artist has won the most prestigious contemporary art prize in the United Kingdom.
The 2017 edition of the Turner Prize marks the first time that an older, woman artist of African origins has won in the award’s history.
In its history, the Turner Prize has awarded a number of artists, many of whom have become known as YBAs (Young British Artists). This year, the Prize has gone to Lubaina Himid, a 63-year-old British artist of Tanzanian origins, who won over the other three shortlisted artists, all of whom were praised by the jury, chaired by Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, for their socially engaged and visually imaginative work. The GBP25,000 prize was presented by DJ, producer and artist Goldie during a live broadcast on the BBC on 5 December 2017. A further GBP5,000 is awarded to each of the other shortlisted artists.
One of the best known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize aims to promote public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984 by the Patrons of New Art, it is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding 24 April 2017. The shortlisted artists for 2017 were Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid and Rosalind Nashashibi.
The exhibition of the four shortlisted artists at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull continues until 7 January 2018 and is co-curated by critic, educator and curator and Chair of New Contemporaries, Sasha Craddock, and curatorial fellow at Newcastle University and writer, George Vasey, with support from Linsey Young, curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate.
Who is Lubaina Himid?
Preston-based Lubaina Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art and received an MA in Cultural History at the Royal College of Art. She is now Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. She was made an MBE in 2010 for services to black women’s art. Recent solo exhibitions include “Navigation Charts, Spike Island”, Bristol, UK and “Invisible Strategies”, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK (both 2017).
Recent group exhibitions include “The Place is Here”, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2017); “The 1980s Today’s Beginnings?”, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2016); “Keywords”, Tate Liverpool, UK (2014); and “Burning Down the House”, Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014). From 1986-1990 Himid was director of the Elbow Room and has curated exhibitions including Carte de Visite, Hollybush Gardens, London, UK (2015); The Thin Black Line, ICA, London, UK (1986); and Critical, Donald Rodney, Rochdale Art Gallery, Rochdale, UK (1989).
Himid’s win has “made history”, as the BBC reports. She is the first older and black woman artist to win the Turner Prize. The judges praised her “uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today” and her “expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre”. The jury also acknowledged her role as an influential curator and educator who continues to speak urgently to the moment.
The Turner Prize exhibition in Hull features her work from the 1980s to today, including wooden figures, pottery and newspapers that she has painted on. The centrepiece A Fashionable Marriage (1987) is based on William Hogarth’s Marriage A-la Mode, which features a cast of cut-out characters including a flirting Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. She has also painted on some newspaper pages to bring attention to how black people were depicted in a way that undermined their identity. Other works on show include porcelain dinner sets, found in junk shops, onto which Himid has painted images of black slaves and aristocrats, some of whom are vomiting at the news of the abolition of slavery.
Himid was one of the first artists involved in the Black Art movement in the 1980s and continues to create activist art engaging with pressing issues plaguing the African communities in the contemporary world, and focusing on black creativity, history and identity.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
Turner Prize 2017 exhibition is on view from 26 September 2017 to 7 January 2018 at Ferens Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3RA, UK.
- Australian artist and activist Zanny Begg wins inaugural Artbank + ACMI Commission – November 2017 – the Sydney-based artist and filmmaker wins inaugural Artbank + ACMI Commission for her proposed video installation The Beehive
- Preview: 5 highlights not to miss at 1:54 African Art Fair London 2017 – October 2017 – London’s leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora returns from 5-8 October for its fifth edition
- “Soul of a Nation”: Black American artists at Tate Modern, London – September 2017 – “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” at London’s Tate Modern explores the invention of a US black aesthetic and critique
- “The Place is Here”: UK-based black artists in the 1980s at South London Gallery and and Middleburgh Institute of Modern Art – August 2017 – “The Place is Here” features black artists based in the United Kingdom, exploring the cultural landscape of the 1980s
- “Stop Ma Pa Ta”: Beninese artists at Villa Arson, Nice – August 2017 – “Stop Ma Pa Ta” highlights 14 artists from Benin, whose work asks questions on immigration, national identity and exploitation
Subscribe to Art Radar for more on art prize around the world