Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Black woman artist wins Britain's Turner Prize

Black woman artist wins Britain's Turner Prize

At 63, she is not only the oldest ever victor by nearly decade, as well the oldest ever nominee, but also the first woman of color to take the prize.

Tuesday night was a historical moment for the world of contemporary art.

THE TURNER Prize 2017 has been awarded to Lubaina Himid, it was announced yesterday evening at a ceremony in Hull Minster, in partnership with Tate and Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Lubaina Himid is 62 and lives and works in Preston.

The African artist, now Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, is best known for her paintings, drawings, printmaking, and installations that centre on black identity, her works making reference to the African diaspora and the slave industry. Himid won the day for her "uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today" and her influence as a curator and professor as well as a visual artist, according to the statement. The exhibition opens with Himid's monumental Freedom and Change, 1984, which appropriates and transforms the female figures from Picasso's Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race), 1922, into black women, powerfully and humorously subverting one of the most canonical paintings in Western art history.

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The 63-year-old is the first black woman and the first artist over the age of 50 to be awarded the £25,000 prize for contemporary art, after the age limit was removed this year, reports the Financial Times.

To significantly raise the profile of this important artist, Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island and Nottingham Contemporary are running concurrent presentations of Himid's work from January 2017. It features a number of cut-out characters, including a flirting Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

In a more recent piece, "Swallow Hard: The Lancaster Dinner Service" (2007), a dinner set has been repainted to tell the story of slavery. As an artist, advocate and curator she has facilitated and celebrated the role of Black artists and their contributions to contemporary society. In all probability, she herself will now make the front page of the paper.

Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, said: "The jury applauded the four nominated artists for their socially engaged and visually imaginative work". Yet increasingly, there is a widespread acceptance that the "80s black art movement ushered in a lot of what we see today".

The prize's panel said they admired Himid's "expansive and exuberant approach to painting which combines satire and a sense of theatre".

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