Monday, October 23, 2017
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'Most diverse Turner Prize to date’


AE-859It was once the domain of outrageous young artists.


But this year the Turner Prize has grown up, shining a light on overlooked older artists, unsensational subject matter and traditional methods.


The exhibition of the four shortlisted artists opens in Hull on Tuesday.


After a rule change, Hurvin Anderson and Lubaina Himid are the first over-50s to be nominated since 1991, while Andrea Buttner and Rosalind Nashashibi are both in their 40s.


In the past, the Turner Prize has been famed for works like Damien Hirst, with his cow in formaldehyde, Tracey Emin's unmade bed, and Martin Creed's The Lights Going On and Off.


Artists of any age were eligible when the prize was first launched in 1984 but in 1991, the rules changed so that only artists under 50 could be considered.


But earlier this year, the rule changed again to allow over 50s to enter.


Anderson, 52, and Himid, 63, have taken their places in this year's nominees' exhibition and are now the bookies' favourites to win.


Zanzibar-born, Preston-based Himid tackles attitudes to race, from slavery to the present day, through her tableaux of wooden figures and painted-over pottery. Anderson's vivid paintings blend his home city of Birmingham with the Jamaica of his forebears.


Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson, who is chairing this year's jury, said there was a desire to celebrate artists who had previously been neglected by the mainstream.


"The art world is more interested than ever before in important but overlooked figures, and work that was made in fairly recent times that didn't have the visibility for whatever reason," he said.


"Sometimes that's to do with its politics, sometimes it's to do with the identity of the artist - you see, for example, a lot of work by older women being revisited by curators today. And particularly in the case of artists of colour and women artists."


Farquharson said this year's was "the most international and diverse Turner Prize to date".


He explained: "There is an artist from a Jamaican background, from an Irish and Palestinian background, an artist born in Tanzania and an artist born in Germany. But they're all part of the British art scene."


Farquharson also said there is "quite a lot of painting" in the exhibition - unlike in some previous years. He said artists no longer feel that unusual materials and methods are any more innovative than more traditional artforms.


The exhibition is at Hull's Ferens Gallery as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations. The winner will be named on 5 December and will receive £25,000.

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