Four Finalists For This Year’s Turner Prize

The Turner Prize, the United Kingdom’s most prestigious visual arts honor, has named the four nominees for this year’s edition, which marks 40 years of the program.

The nominees are Claudette Johnson, a Black British artist whose feminist figurative work has won renown for decades; Manila-born, London-based Pio Abad, who often examines the legacies of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines; Glasgow-native Jasleen Kaur, who often employs sound and sculpture to reflect on the UK’s Sikh diaspora; and Delaine Le Bas, a British artist of Romanian heritage known for her embroidery and painting centered on the intersections of nationhood, gender, and belonging.

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The Turner Prize carries a £25,000 purse; shortlisted artists will be awarded £10,000. The Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain opens on September 25 and runs through 16 February, 2025. 

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, said in a statement, “All four [artists] make work that is full of life. They show how contemporary art can fascinate, surprise and move us, and how it can speak powerfully of complex identities and memories, often through the subtlest of details.”

A little more about the nominees:

  • Claudette Johnson, one of the co-founders of the influential BLK Art Group, was nominated for two shows, “Presence” at The Courtauld Gallery in London and “Drawn Out” at Ortuzar Projects in New York. In each, she presented full-scale vibrantly colored, in her words, portraits reminiscent of candid photography and radiating selfhood. In Tate’s citation, the jurors said they were “ struck by Johnson’s sensitive and dramatic use of line, color, space and scale to express empathy and intimacy with her subjects.”
  • Pio Abad is nominated for his solo show in 2023, “To Those Sitting in Darkness”, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The show considered the consequences of colonialism, such as the destruction and manipulation of local culture and histories. The show included drawing, etchings and sculptures in dialogue with artifacts from Oxford museums, to both highlight historical parallels, and question the conventional museum model of exhibition.   
  • Jasleen Kaur is nominated for her solo exhibition Alter Altar at Tramway, Glasgow. Exploring themes of Sikh cultural inheritance and memory, she paired immersive sound composition with sculptures created from everyday objects– family photos, an Axminster carpet, Irn-Bru, a favorite orange soda of Scots, and kinetic hand bells. In some of her best known work, a car is covered in doilies; here, a vintage Ford Escort.
  • Delaine Le Bas is nominated for her presentation “Incipit Vita Nova. Here Begins The New Life/A New Life Is Beginning” at Secession, Vienna. Visitors were immersed in draped with painted fabrics and decorated with costumes and sculptures drawing from Romai beliefs on death and renewal. In their citation, the jury noted “the energy and immediacy present in this exhibition, and its powerful expression of making art in a time of chaos.”

Past winners include some of today’s best-recognized artists, such as Lubaina Himid, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Steve McQueen, and Wolfgang Tillmans. Confined to artists based in the UK, the Turner Prize is keenly watched, and prone to controversy given that its winners typically deal in hyper-conceptual art.  

The past three editions of Turner Prize, too, have been unconventional: In 2019, the nominees famously split the cash purse rather than determining one winner; in 2020, the award was called off and grants were distributed instead; and in 2021, only collectives were nominated.

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