Turner Prize 2017 to Lubaina Himid: Africa of refugees and marginalized wins

Lubaina Himid wins the 2017 Turner Prize: an award therefore to Africa's refugees and marginalized. And a series of broken records.

For the first time in history, the Turner Prize, the prestigious award given to the best English artist (or one active predominantly in England) of the year and named after the great William Turner (one of the greatest painters of Romanticism), goes to an artist over 50. In fact, the 2017 Turner edition went to Lubaina Himid, a Zanzibar-born artist born in 1954, who prevailed over the other three finalists (Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, and Rosalind Nashashibi). Lubaina Himid set several records: the youngest artist ever to win the Turner Prize, the first artist over 50 to win the prize, and the first black woman to succeed.

Jury members (Dan Fox, Martin Herbert, Mason Leaver-Yap, Emily Pethick, and Alex Farquharson) chose Lubaina Himid’s work because she has always been able to chronicle the creativity of black Africa and address issues such as the colonial past, the cultural traditions of African peoples, emigration and the plight of refugees and marginalized people, and black identity. The winner, reached by the Guardian, spoke of a “sweet and bitter” victory. “I think about what I could have done if I had won the prize when I was 40 years old,” Lubaina Himid said. “It would have been nice. But I also think about the fact that now I have more things to say, and the award gives me the opportunity to say them. Even though there are not many years left to do that. Having 20 years ahead is not the same as having 63 years behind.”

Her name thus joins the already long roll of the Turner Prize, which was established in 1984 and has been won in the past by such celebrated artists as Gilbert & George (in 1986), Tony Cragg (1988), Anish Kapoor (1991), Antony Gormley (1994), Damien Hirst (1995), Chris Ofili (1998), Steve McQueen (1999), Mark Wallinger (2007), and Richard Wright (2009). The works of the winner and finalists now, in keeping with the tradition of the prize, are on display in an exhibition organized by the Tate London, which this year is being held at the Ferens Art Gallery in Kingston upon Hull (the exhibition began on September 26, 2017 and will end on January 7, 2018).

Image: Lubaina Himid, Naming the Money (2004, here in the 2017 Bristol installation). Courtesy the artist, Hollybush Gardens, and National Museums, Liverpool.

Photo: Stuart Whipps

Turner Prize 2017 to Lubaina Himid: Africa of refugees and marginalized wins
Turner Prize 2017 to Lubaina Himid: Africa of refugees and marginalized wins

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