LONDON — Ingrid Pollard, a pioneer of black photography, and Veronica Ryan, a widely recognized black sculptor in her 60s, are among the nominees for this year’s Turner Prize, Britain’s prestigious prize for the visual arts.
The shortlist of four people was announced during an online press conference at Tate Liverpool, an art museum in northern England, on Tuesday.
Heather Phillipson, who has presented several large-scale public works of art in Britain, was also nominated. In 2020 she installed ‘The End’ in Trafalgar Square, London, a work which included a 31ft statue of a dollop of whipped cream, with a fly on it.
The fourth artist on the list was Sin Wai Kin, a Toronto-born non-binary artist.
Pollard, 69, born in Guyana before moving to Britain as a child, has drawn attention since the 1980s for her work exploring black life, including its relationship to rural environments. Christine Eyene, an art historian and one of this year’s award judges, said at the press conference that Pollard’s work had “for decades revealed stories and histories hidden in plain sight. “.
Ryan, 66, makes sculptures of seeds, pods and fruits, as well as assemblages from sewn and crocheted shiny fabrics. She told The Guardian newspaper last year that for a long time her art “didn’t really bring in enough money to pay the rent” but that her career had blossomed recently, including major public art commissions. It is presented this year at the Whitney Biennial in New York.
Phillipson, 43, has had major exhibitions at Tate Britain, London, and the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, in the north of England.
Sin Wai Kin, 31, is known for his films and performances that mix genres, including traditional Chinese opera and drag shows.
The Turner Prize, founded in 1984, has been one of the leading prizes in the international art world, with past winners, such as Damien Hirst and Steve McQueen, going on to become global stars. But the prize has long been controversial in Britain, with newspaper critics often complaining that the nominated artists were too obscure or that their work was more about activism than art.
Last year, Array Collective, a group of 11 performers who attend political protests in Northern Ireland while holding homemade props and humorous banners, won the award. In 2019, the prize was won by the four shortlisted artists, including Colombian artist Oscar Murillo, after they released a statement claiming their highly political work was “incompatible with the format of the competition”.
This year’s winner, who will be chosen by a six-member jury, will be announced at a ceremony on December 7. A free exhibition of works by the four nominees will take place at Tate Liverpool from October 20 to March 19.