Lubaina Himid becomes oldest artist to win Turner Prize award
Himid’s work celebrates black creativity and the African diaspora.
The Turner Prize has not become a “lifetime achievement award” despite Lubaina Himid winning at the age of 63, the chair of the judging panel has said.
African-born, Lancashire-based Himid, who is the oldest artist ever to win the best known accolade in British art, said she would use her £25,000 winning cheque to help support emerging artists and then added: “… and I might buy the odd pair of shoes.”
Her victory was announced by the musician and artist Goldie at Hull Minster, as Hull continues to celebrate its year as UK City of Culture 2017.
Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chair of the jury, said he believed Himid’s selection vindicated this year’s decision to lift the restriction on artists over 50 being nominated for the first time since 1991.
He said: “It reflects well on the motivation for lifting it which is an increasing sense that the work of older artists has been making considerable impact on what we’re looking at and how we’re thinking about art today.
“I think there is no longer an overwhelming focus on youth as equating to what’s innovative in contemporary art.”
But Mr Farquharson added: “I still think that Lubaina winning is still very clearly not about the Turner Prize becoming a lifetime achievement award. I think it’s about the resonance of someone’s work now and someone’s work made back then, in the present moment.”
Himid’s work celebrates black creativity and the African diaspora and includes paintings, prints, drawings and installations.
She was born in Zanzibar in 1954 and is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston.
Asked about the £25,000 prize, Himid said she already “surreptitiously” helped artists struggling for funding to put on shows and said: “So I’ll just use it for that.”
She laughed and added: “… and I might buy the odd pair of shoes.”
Still laughing she stressed: “Not £25,0000 worth of shoes.”
Himid said: “I know it sounds like some cliche, but I feel like I won it for a lot of people, so that’s why it means a lot.”
She said: “I won it for all the times we put our head above the parapet and we tried to do things and we failed. People have died in the meantime.
Prof Lubaina Himid announced as winner of #TurnerPrize 2017 live at @HullMinster @1lubaina said: “It’s great to win, especially as so many people in #Preston were rooting for me. It will make a huge difference to my profile and give a platform to the issues I want to champion.” pic.twitter.com/RXrFZ4pF6L— Uni of Central Lancs (@UCLan) December 5, 2017
“For all the black women who never did win it even though they’ve been shortlisted. It feels good for that reason.”
Asked about her age, she said: “I’ve 63 years behind me. I certainly haven’t got 63 years in front of me. Maybe 15 years worth of painting if I work it at it? So I’ve got a lot to do.”
The shortlist included two artists who are over 50. As well as Himid it featured British painter Hurvin Anderson, who is 52.
They were competing against German artist Andrea Buttner and Palestinian-English artist Rosalind Nashashibi, who is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.