The 10 artists who will each be given £10,000 (about $12,500) grants in lieu of the Turner Prize this year (which was officially cancelled in May because it would have been logistically impossible to stage) have been named by Tate Britain.
They are Liz Johnson Artur, Oreet Ashery, Shawanda Corbett, Jamie Crewe, Sean Edwards, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Ima Abasi-Okon, Imran Perretta, Alberta Whittle, and the political art collective Arika.
“Following a lively and rigorous virtual debate, the jury has settled on a list of 10 fantastic artists who reflect the exceptional talent found in contemporary British art,” Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain’s director, told the London .
“From ceramics to film, performance to photography, they represent the many exciting and interdisciplinary ways that artists work today. These bursaries represent a vote of confidence in that work and offer some much-deserved support in challenging times.”
This year’s honorees will continue to be eligible for the Turner Prize in the future. They were selected based on their “significant contributions” to contemporary art over the past year.
Normally, four artists are short-listed for the prize in May and invited to stage exhibitions at the museum in the fall, with the winner announced in December. The £45,000 ($55,413) pot is usually split between the winner, who gets £25,000 ($30,777), and three finalists who receive £5,000 ($6,160) each. The additional funding for the expanded purse this year was provided by John Booth, Catherine Petitgas, and the Ampersand Foundation.
This is the second year in a row that the prize has not gone as expected. Last year, in a surprise twist, the award went to all four finalists.
The 2020 jury, chaired by Farquharson, featured Richard Birkett, curator-at-large at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Sarah Munro, director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK; designer and curator Duro Olowu; and Fatoş Üstek, director of the Liverpool Biennial.
Their task was easier than in a normal year, Farquharson told the .
“Usually that extra step of getting down from 10 to four is quite time-consuming and the most painful because you are dealing with artists whose work the jury feels the strongest allegiance to.”
Here’s a look at the 10 artists.
Arika, a political arts organization that uses art for social change, was selected by the jury for their five-day program “Episode 10: A Means Without End,” which included performances, discussions, screenings, and other events at Tramway in Glasgow.
Liz Johnson Artur
A Ghanaian-Russian photographer, Artur has documented people of the African diaspora for 30 years in her project, . The jury recognized the work’s presentation at the South London Gallery.
“Misbehaving Bodies: Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery” at the Wellcome Collection in London attracted the jury’s notice for including the film and the web series , about nurses preparing their patients for death.
In her jury-praised performance at the Serpentine Gallery in London, Corbett, a ceramic artist who bases her vessels on people, referenced journeys out of slavery on the Underground Railroad as well as her own personal history of rehabilitation.
Selected based on a pair of exhibitions at Grand Union in Birmingham and the Humber Street Gallery in Hull, Crewe harnesses the power of video, sculpture, drawing, and text to share LGTBQ+ histories and consider issues of power and identity.
Edwards caught the jury’s attention with his sculptural installation , featuring video and audio works inspired by his childhood, for the Welsh Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Sidsel Meineche Hansen
Technology and capitalism were the focus of “Sidsel Meineche Hansen: Welcome to End-Used City” at Chisenhale Gallery, which was praised by the jury for its innovative use of VR and AR in highlighting the role that robots and the human body play in the workforce today.
Okon wowed the jury by retrofitting industrial air conditioners to host a multi-channel sound piece in her show “Infinite Slippage: nonRepugnant Insolvencies T!-a!-r!-r!-y!-i!-n!-g! as Hand Claps of M’s Hard’Loved’Flesh [I’M irreducibly-undone because] —Quantum Leanage-Complex-Dub” at the Chisenhale Gallery in London.
Selected based on his film (2019), about young Muslim men from South Asian background coming of age in London, Perretta works in poetry, film, sound, and performance art.
Working across performance, video, photography, collage, and sculpture, Whittle was picked by the jury based on her solo show How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland.