Turner Prize 2021: shortlist dominated by art collectives who 'inspire social change'

Winner will be selected in December after last year's award was cancelled owing to the pandemic

Organisers of the Turner Prize announced their shortlist for 2021, which for the first time is comprised entirely of art collectives.

The coveted award organised by Tate Britain is awarded to notable visual artists. Previous winners include Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and British artist Damien Hirst.

"This is the first time a Turner Prize jury has selected a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives. All the nominees work closely and continuously with communities across the breadth of the UK to inspire social change through art," organisers said

The shortlist comprises Array Collective, a group of Belfast artists; Black Obsidian Sound System, a London-based collective of radical art activists; Cooking Sections, a London pair creating food-inspired art installations; Gentle/Radical, a Welsh collective using art for social change; and Project Art Works, based in the south of England.

Works by the nominees will be displayed at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, central England, from Wednesday, September 29 to Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 1 at a televised award ceremony in the city.

"One of the great joys of the Turner Prize is the way it captures and reflects the mood of the moment in contemporary British art," said Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson, who chairs the Turner Prize jury.

"We pride ourselves on our socially engaged programme, rooted in and relevant to our local communities – something echoed by the practice of each collective."

Established in 1984, the prize is named after the British land and seascape painter JMW Turner and is aimed at promoting public interest in contemporary art.

All the nominees work closely and continuously with communities across the breadth of the UK to inspire social change through art

The winner is awarded £25,000 ($35,000), with £10,000 going to each of the other nominees.

After the 2020 Turner Prize was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers split the prize money among 10 nominees.

Over the years, the award has courted headlines, with installations including an unmade bed and artworks made from elephant dung and human hair.

In 2019, the four shortlisted artists sent a plea to judges to award the prize to them all jointly, explaining they had formed a collective to show solidarity at a time of "political crisis in Britain and much of the world".

Updated: May 12, 2021 01:56 PM


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