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This year’s Turner Prize nominations are a breath of fresh air

Written by
Matt Breen

A while back, we reported on the organisers of the Turner Prize scrapping the under-50s-only rule. So, as you might expect, it’s a distinctly older roster of artists lined up for this year’s prize.

But what’s really exciting about the 2017 nominees is the diversity of background. Hurvin Anderson was born in Birmingham but is of Afro-Caribbean heritage, Andrea Büttner grew up in Germany, and Lubaina Himid moved from Zanzibar to the UK as a child. You get the definite sense that the nominating panel wanted to move the selection away from 1) the idea that only younger newcomers make fresh and exciting art, and 2) that all artists working in the UK are of white British heritage. Maybe the weirdest thing of all is this: there are not one but two painters on the shortlist. It’s rare to the point of never that you’ll get two in a prize that celebrates bold, innovative ways of making art. But that’s not to say there isn't life in the old paint dog yet.

Anyway, here’s the line-up. The winner will be announced in December – time to start placing bets?

Hurvin Anderson

Aged 52. Anderson makes paintings that reflect his Jamaican heritage and sense of dual identity. Barbershops make repeated appearances in his canvases, as do images of icons like Malcolm X. 

Hurvin Anderson, ‘Is It Ok To Be Black?’, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Andrea Büttner 

Aged 45. Büttner was born in Germany and now divides her time across Berlin and London. Her work is a kind of melting pot of media and ideas, referencing science, philosophy and religion. Head-scratching stuff.

Installation view of ‘Andrea Büttner’, David Kortansky Gallery, Los Angeles 2016. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Lubaina Himid

Aged 62. Himid was born in Zanzibar but grew up in the UK. She makes bright, exuberant paintings and installations that celebrate African culture and also takes swipes at systems of oppression like slavery.

Lubaina Himid, ‘A Fashionable Marriage’, 1986. Installation view of ‘The Place is Here’, Nottingham Contemporary, 2017. © Nottingham Contemporary. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens. Photo: Andy Keate.

Rosalind Nashashibi

Aged 43. Nashashibi makes dense, multi-layered, slow-burn films that are shot in locations across the world, including the Gaza Strip and the Guatemalan jungle. 

Rosalind Nashashibi, ‘Electrical Gaza’, 2015. Video still. Courtesy of the artist.

This year’s Turner Prize will go on display at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull from Sep 26-Jan 7 2018. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on Dec 5.

In other art news, you can watch this guy get his head smashed to bits in a virtual reality art installation.

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